ABC funding has been cut by 10% in real terms since 2013 – around $100 million per annum – with serious consequences for jobs, programs and services.
Last year, the federal government restored $84 million in operational funding to the ABC and reintroduced indexation. But this only part of the funding lost over nine years, and the formula used to calculate indexation won’t keep pace with inflation.
Without additional funding the ABC will go backwards. Australia needs a properly-funded ABC with the resources to reach all Australians.
Fund more Australian content
Since 2013, ABC drama and new Australian documentaries have been halved. New Australian comedy has been reduced by nearly one-fifth. With fewer original programs, the ABC has been forced to rely on repeats and imports.
Our public broadcaster should reflect who we are as a nation. Its priority should be to tell Australian stories in all their wonderful diversity.
We support the ABC’s call for a funding boost to create more local dramas, children’s content and specialist programs.
Guarantee the ABC’s independence
The ABC Board should be independent of political and commercial interests, with members selected on merit by an independent non-partisan nominations panel, as laid down in the ABC Act.
ABC Friends supports strengthened and more transparent processes for appointments to the ABC board.
Fully fund the ABC’s emergency service
In a survey conducted after the 2020 bushfires in NSW, 60% of respondents said information provided by the ABC helped ensure their safety. About half of those surveyed relied on the ABC as their main source of information during the crisis.
Between 2017 and 2020 the need for emergency broadcasts more than doubled, but the ABC’s funding went backwards.
The ABC is the only network able to deliver this vital service, but it is required to meet the cost from within its depleted operating budget. It must be properly funded to do the job.
Guarantee access to the ABC for all Australians
All Australians should have access to the national broadcaster. But in some parts of the country it is difficult, even impossible, to get a decent signal, a problem that has become worse with escalating costs of maintaining re-transmission towers.
Enhance funding for ABC International
Australia plays a major role as a responsible democratic partner in the Asia-Pacific, but the ABC’s international service all but disappeared when it was stripped of $200m in 2014.
The federal government has allocated an additional $32 million over 4 years for ABC International. It’s an important start but additional funds will be needed if the ABC is to resume its role as Australia’s trusted voice in region.