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It's our ABC

A research report for GetUp! by Per Capita
Digital media Federal government Government expenditure News media Public broadcasting Australia

By 2022, which represents the end of the third triennial funding period during which the Coalition Government has been in power, the total funding cut from the ABC will be over $783 million.

The national broadcaster’s 2019-20 operational revenue from Government of $879 million represents a decrease in real funding of $367 million per annum, or 29.5%, since 1985-86.

At a time when the federal government is providing extraordinary financial support to the commercial broadcasting sector as part of its response to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, the ABC – on which Australians rely and trust more than any other media service during times of national emergency – has received no such assistance. The funding cuts that have decimated its operational budget in recent years remain government policy.

Key findings:

  • The ABC provides a trusted source of essential news and information, underpins our social cohesion and national identity, and brings us together in times of crisis. It educates our kids, informs our decisions as participants in our democracy, and provides comfort and entertainment in our homes.
  • The ABC no longer covers local sport on TV. Its local production units, other than for news and current affairs, in Adelaide and Perth have been closed, along with five regional local radio newsrooms.
  • Lateline and state-based versions of 7.30 have been axed. Radio current affairs programming via The World Today and PM has been halved, as has the number of hours of original scripted Australian content. Specialist programming on Radio National has been cut, and over 100 ABC websites have been shut down.
  • A thousand jobs have gone since 2014. Many were senior journalists and producers, with centuries' worth of combined knowledge and experience.
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