Response to Federal Representative 's Denial of Cuts : LUSENET : Friends of the ABC : One Thread

How to reply to our federal representative when he states as follows: 'ABC CUTS NOT ON' and continues - 'There have been no cuts to the ABC since 1996 and that the ABC staff union and Friends of the ABC were 'beating up' concerns over cuts to regional programming. 'It is purely internal and I have had a meeting with Jonathan Shiers who assured me regional programming would not be adversely affected. The union is doing a beat up to try and scare people.'

-- Anonymous, January 16, 2001


The government is more or less correct when it says that there have been no cuts to the ABC since 1996. Of course in that year the government cut $66 million, which caused massive damage to the ABC.

While there have been no direct cuts since then, the ABC's financial condition has worsened because of a number of factors.

First, the government required, by legislation, that all broadcasters, including the ABC, should convert to digital TV broadcasting. Thus the ABC was compelled to spend a great deal of money for this conversion. The government contributed part of the cost, but the ABC had to find the remainder from its already depleted budgets.

Second, the ABC has been developing its world class and much awarded Internet site, ABC Online. There has been not one cent of additional funding for this. The ABC has been put in the position of either ignoring the new medium of the Internet, or of cutting its radio and television budgets to fund ABC Online.

Had the ABC said "forget the Internet, we're only about radio and television" they would have been rightly condemned. Its as if in the mid 1950s the ABC had stuck its head in the sand and shown no interest in the new fangled medium of television.

Thirdly, there has been the waste and extravagance of the new ABC Managing Director, Jonathan Shier. He has created more Senior Executive Positions, raised (and in some cases almost doubled) executive salaries, and paid out large sums of money in compensation to former executives who he summarily dismissed.

Another point to make to people who suggest that the ABC is adequately funded is that:

ABC TV costs only 36% per broadcast hour of commercial TV in Austrlia. ABC Radio costs only 40% per broadcast hour of commjecial radio in Australia.

The BBC costs the British public 32 cents per person per day The CBC costs the Canadian public 13 cents per person per day The ABC costs just under 10 cents per person per day

For background details, see Fact and Opinion on FABC, SA, website

-- Anonymous, January 29, 2001

It was back in 1988 that David Hill introduced the 8c/day campaign to let the public know what the ABC was costing them. What would that 8c be worth now? Factoring in inflation over that period means that to maintain the same real income, the ABC should receive 11.3c. What it gets is 7.7c per Australian, per day. In real terms the budget has been cut by one third.

To suggest that the ABC find 1/3 of its funding from commercial sources is a nonsense. Any commercial funding at all fiddles at the edges of the ABC’s ability to operate as a truly independent broadcaster, and sets a dangerous precedent. But one third! The game would be all but over. The ABC we know and love would be gone.

Perhaps we should be asking that the government contributes 15 cents a day to the budget of the ABC

-- Anonymous, February 06, 2001

What happened to the independence of the ABC? With a stacked board & governments of both persuasions against it, what price,independence? I have tried to teach myself that I can watch other channels but there's SBS only & it's great, but somehow the ABC is still able to provide enough most nights to sharpen the mind & entertain.The commercial pap is too awful to watch for more than a few minutes.Obviously politicians are too busy with their machinations to take in what ABC radio & TV have on offer or they would support not destroy such diversity.Mr Shier's record does not indicate that he understands or cares about ABC listeners/viewers.Nor has he sufficient background to be able to project how his administration will affect regional programming.

-- Anonymous, February 19, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ