A motion praising the emergency work of the ABC, but noting the stress on already dwindling ABC funding, was made in the Senate today.
The motion passed the Senate and was co-sponsored by Senators Griff, Hanson-Young, and Kitching.
It moved that the Senate -
- thanks the ABC for its service in delivering vital emergency broadcasts and comprehensive coverage during the catastrophic fires;
- acknowledges the dramatic rise in emergency broadcasts - form 256 in 2017-18, to371 in 2018-19 and close to 900 during this financial year, which have been delivered without additional funding to cover the resources which have been poured into the emergency broadcast effort;
- recognises that, since Boxing Day, as bushfires raged across Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia, the ABC handled more than 100 emergency broadcasts in a single week, receiving widespread praise for the practical, life-saving information and the professionalism on display;
- notes heavy damage sustained to the ABC's radio and TV networks during the bushfires, particularly at Bateman's Bay in NSW and East Gippsland in VIC.
- commend the ABC for mobilising with assistance of the ADF, Broadcast Australia, and Commercial Broadcasters to restore local radio stations as the priority because of their critical role in providing information to communities during disasters;
- acknowledges the ABC 's funding is decreasing at a time when emergency broadcasting events is increasing; and
- calls on the Federal Government to reverse the $83.7 million paused indexation funding, as a matter of urgency.