What can the ABC expect from the budget?

What can the ABC expect from the budget?

As the federal budget gets closer there is increasing concern that it won't be good for the ABC. 

Jim Chalmers over the ABC logo with a budget graph going down

So many good causes and needs, so little money. And there is an alarming sense of complacency that the ABC is “fixed” because we now have a pro-ABC government.

ABC Friends and ABC Alumni have been trying to get the government to realise that the budget needs to further help the ABC. Despite the reinstatement of indexation, the ABC is still significantly underfunded. The impact of years of cuts is obvious in the programs and people (and ratings) lost. The Government has taken up ABC Friends’ longstanding call for five year ABC funding but, if it is at an inadequate level, it will be a burden rather than a boost.

ABC Friends President, Cassandra Parkinson, and ABC Alumni President, Jonathan Holmes, have led a campaign to try to improve the treatment of the ABC in the Federal Budget to be delivered on 9 May.  They have visited the Minister and Shadow Minister for Communications, numerous prominent independents and the Greens, and advisers to Ministers for the Arts and Emergency Services.

The arguments for extra funding that have been presented are based on the ABC Alumni’s Rebuilding the ABC and ABC Friends’ priorities document. Both these documents were shared with the people lobbied in Canberra.

ABC Friends and ABC Alumni delegations meet with the Communications Minister. L to R: 
ABC Friends and ABC Alumni delegations meet with the Communications Minister. L to R: Quentin Dempster (ABC Alumni), Cassandra Parkinson (ABC Friends), Hon. Michelle Rowland, Michael Henry (ABC Friends), Jonathan Holmes (ABC Alumni).

The overall reception in Canberra to the Friends/Alumni message has been positive, but the prospects are not promising. Every government representative is crying poor, and all others are conscious of the current financial constraints. However, without additional funding the ABC will be forced to make further cuts, and it will be even harder for it to fulfil its Charter as our national independent public broadcaster.

We await the budget with trepidation.

ABC Friends will report the results of the Budget as it relates to the ABC and public broadcasting in an e-news on 10 May.

Sophie Arnold
ABC Friends VIC