ABC Friends News



Calls on Labor to Go Further
ABC Friends, the organisation fighting to protect the national broadcaster and restore its funding, welcomes an announcement today by Labor to increase ABC funding by $21m over the forward estimates incorporated in the June budget.
The funding, announced by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare, will be tied funding, designed to finally allow coverage for many neglected women’s sports.
“The Abbott-Turnbull Government’s savage cuts to the national broadcaster made the problem worse, contributing to the ABC’s decision to cut its regular broadcasts of women’s sport including the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL),” Mr Shorten said in a media release.
“The $21 million in funding Labor will provide to the ABC will increase coverage of women’s sport on both television and digital platforms by approximately 500 live hours over the next four years.”

Labor says it hopes the funding will allow coverage of:

  • The ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup.
  • The Women’s Hockey World Cup and Champions Trophy.
  • The FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup and the WNBL.
  • The AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
ABC Friends National Spokesman Ranald Macdonald says that, although he welcomes the additional funds and the way they have been tied to women’s sport, the &21m in extra funding represents a small fraction of what has been taken away by the Abbott/Turnbull governments.”
“It’s a wonderful announcement, it really is,” Mr Macdonald said, “but the ABC has been cut by more than ten times that amount recently.”
“So we are hoping Labor, or any other party, will promise to fully restore the more than $300m in cutbacks, that have resulted in hundreds of job losses and a drastic decrease in the quality of programmes the ABC is able to produce.”
“While, in principle, we worry that tied funding takes decision-making away from ABC Management as to the allocation of its overall funding, the need for special funding the the area of women’s sport clearly outweighs that concern in this instance.”
“We are hopeful that more funding will be allocated by the ALP in areas such as regional coverage where additional funding is needed, in particular,” Mr Macdonald said.
ABC Friends will be launching its massive social media and grassroots campaign later this week.
For further questions or comment please contact: Ranald Macdonald 0424 545 516 and/or Margaret Reynolds 0418 181 843