By Sydney, Australia correspondent Jennie Drimmof
Less juice for thin Lissie.
The now former Friend of the ABC, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull last night announced a halving of the ABC’s budget over 3 years. Mr Turnbull said community feedback has strongly shown that the national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, was delivering much more than what the taxpayers should be paying for and using taxes to compete against private operators in radio, TV and online.
The Minister said “The ABC’s budget will return to the 8 cents per day that was ample in the 1980’s. Reduced costs of technologies with their greater productivity should cover the costs of a synergistic online presence.” He added that his office had identified substantial operational savings with internal cost recoveries for the transition to a lean operating model that only fills the gaps in the broadcast landscape that are commercially unsustainable for private operators.
Sale of the Ultimo headquarters will more than cover the migration of key operations to the developing Badgerys Creek airport precinct. Similar moves in other capital cities; away from prime real estate; would nearly eliminate operational costs such as parking and airport taxi fares.
ABC funding would only be provided for:
- 2 TV channels per viewing region
- 1 regional and one national radio station per “band” in any area
- an Internet presence limited to that supporting broadcast programmes
- local content production with export marketing potential with cost recovery
The ABC’s Managing Director Mark Scott was reportedly stunned and stated only that “a budget of $590million for 2018/19 will barely cover the salaries and pensions of key people like Tony Jones, Kerry O’Brien, Leigh Sales and Paul Barry.”