Labor is concerned that successive cuts to the ABC by the Liberal National Government are undermining this trusted national institution.

Scott Morrison has refused to reverse the latest cuts of $83.7 million, which he made as Treasurer in 2018. Now he is telling Australians that “there are no cuts”.

ABC Chair Ita Buttrose has released a statement clarifying the cuts, and NSW Nationals Leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro has contradicted Scott Morrison’s claim.

Labor rejects Scott Morrison’s denial and his disregard for the 250 ABC staff now facing the sack, the end of the 7:45am Radio news bulletin, the $5m per annum reduction in Australian content commissions and cuts to Australian Story and Foreign Correspondent.

We recognise that the ABC is an essential service with a statutory Charter to deliver for all Australians, and should be supported like one.

From emergency broadcasting during the bushfires to trusted education and information during COVID-19, the need for this trusted national platform is greater now than ever.

That is why an Albanese Labor Government will reverse Scott Morrison’s $83.7 million cut to the ABC to save jobs, protect emergency broadcasting and support local news and content.

It is appalling that this Liberal National Government ignored a proposal by the ABC to invest tens of millions of dollars in regional services.

By refusing to reverse his $83.7m in cuts to the ABC, Scott Morrison has cut vital job, news and emergency broadcasting to regional Australia.

The ABC needs stable and adequate funding. It is damaging and irresponsible to cut the ABC’s funding in a recession, during a pandemic, in the aftermath of devastating bushfires.

Scott Morrison is cutting the ABC despite the fact that:

  • climate change means there will be increasing need for life saving emergency broadcasting by the ABC;
  • public interest journalism is in decline, news outlets are closing and the ACCC found that the ABC is not resourced to fully compensate for the decline in local reporting;
  • misinformation and disinformation is on the rise and Australians need trusted sources of information like the ABC;
  • Australia’s creative industries are reeling from COVID-19 restrictions and need investment and support from the ABC; and
  • Australia should be ‘stepping up’ in the Pacific yet ABC international broadcasting and regional connections are underutilised.

Since 2013, and in breach of an election promise not to, the Liberals have cut general ABC funding as well as reduced funding for local news gathering, including in regional Australia.

The recent report by Per Capita estimates that the cumulative funding cuts to the ABC under the Coalition Government, over the three triennial funding periods from 2013-2022 will be over $783 million. This estimate matches the figure calculated by Alexander Wake, RMIT and Michael Ward, University of Sydney in their April 2019 article for The Conversation.

The ABC Managing Director confirms that the ABC will have to absorb cumulative budget cuts that amount to $105.9 million per annum by 2022.

When Scott Morrison cuts the ABC, it is Australians who miss out. 

Labor will reverse the cuts of $83.7 million, which are devastating for regional Australia, and the Liberals and Nationals should too.

You can write to the Minister for Regional Communications to demand that the Government reverse their damaging cuts of $83.7 million to the ABC:

The Hon Mark Coulton MP
Minister for Regional Communications
Shop 3, 153 Brisbane Street
Dubbo, NSW, 2830
[email protected]