This paper explores some of the debates about recent budget measures for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), including efficiency measures and how these have been alternatively described and understood.

One theme of this paper is that debates about funding the ABC from government appropriations can be traced back at least to the late 1940s when the Corporation was first directly funded from Consolidated Revenue. One aspect of this debate is whether dependence on government funding causes confusion about ABC’s independence from government, or even tension with the government of the day.

Another theme is that there has been ongoing discussion about the effectiveness of the ABC Charter as a mechanism for measuring how well the ABC uses its funds.

In order to provide context to these issues, the paper:

  • describes different aspects of governance and administration that shape funding for the ABC, focusing particularly on the Commonwealth Financial Framework, as well as the ABC Board and Charter and the role they play in determining the ABC’s independence
  • explains the various sources of funding for the ABC, including own-source revenues through commercial activities and government funding for operations
  • reviews some determinates to revenue, such as the triennial funding arrangement and
  • summarises contemporary and historical perspectives on the impact of budget measures on the ABC.
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