ABC welcomes ‘funding certainty’ as Morrison government responds to media reform document | Australian Broadcasting Corporation
The Morrison government will restore ABC funding to 2018 levels, when Malcolm Turnbull imposed an $84 million escalation break, with the public broadcaster set to receive $3.3 billion for the next three years.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher also announced that SBS would receive $953.7 million, including an additional $37.5 million in ongoing funding to support its long-term viability, as part of the government’s response to the book. green on media reform.
The three-year funding includes $45.8 million for the ABC’s enhanced newsgathering program to continue public interest journalism in regional communities.
“We have increased funding for both national broadcasters from the 2016-19 and 2019-22 funding periods,” Fletcher said.
“This funding commitment is designed to provide certainty for both broadcasters and is announced well in advance of the next funding period to help ABC and SBS develop their plans for the future.”
While funding remains stable between 2023 and 2026, the government will impose new reporting conditions on the two public broadcasters. The expectation statements will ask them to detail levels of Australian content and other key services.
CBA chief executive David Anderson welcomed what he called “funding certainty”.
“The $3.3 billion over the next triennium, announced by Minister Paul Fletcher, provides for the resumption of indexing, the continuation of the Enhanced Newsgathering (ENG) program which provides vital services across the country and support continuous audio description services for the blind or visually impaired,” he said.
“The ENG funding has provided more personalized information to local communities and has seen the ABC invest more in specialist resources that provide vital context and analysis on issues that matter to all Australians.”
ABC President Ita Buttrose said she was “delighted” with the government’s funding decision.
“This will allow the national broadcaster to continue doing what it does best – providing information and entertainment to Australians wherever they live,” she said.
The Morrison government has also announced a number of media reform measures, including a plan to ensure streaming services like Netflix invest at least 5% of their profits in Australian content and an extension of support for broadcasters. regional and public interest journalism.
Between 4,000 and 5,000 editorial roles have been lost since 2010 and “many regional and remote communities no longer have a local reporter present and do not receive coverage of local issues and events,” the media policy statement says.
“This trend of contracting services and job losses has accelerated thanks to Covid, with some estimates suggesting that at least 1,000 journalists lost their jobs due to the closure of small independent publications in 2020.”
To support regional journalism, a new journalists’ fund will also provide $10 million over two years to support the hiring of junior journalists in regional newsrooms.
Screen Producers Australia has advocated for a 20% Australian content quota on streaming services as audiences have shifted away from free-to-air TV towards on-demand streaming.
“Australia is not alone in rising to the challenge of safeguarding access to content with local cultural relevance in an increasingly globalized market,” the streaming regulation document said. “A number of countries have put in place streaming service regulations to incentivize or require the provision of local programming.”
Guardian Australia reported last week that the majority of Australians would support restoring funding for the ABC after new figures showed it had been cut by $526m since the Coalition’s first budget.