When the budget was announced in May this year, Australians learned that the Government would cut $9 million from the ABC’s funding. Information released to the public yesterday revealed that a further five per cent will be cut from the national broadcaster’s annual funding.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed that the ABC would lose an additional $50 million a year. He defended the cuts, saying that the Government gave the ABC around $1.1 billion a year, and these new cuts were a crucial part of the Government’s plan to revive the budget, and there was “no reason for the ABC to be exempt from that.”
We’re spending more than we are receiving…and we’ve got to spend less,” said Mr Turnbull on the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night. He described the cuts to the ABC’s funding as necessary and “relatively modest savings”.
The new cuts have caused a wave of outrage aimed largely at the Government. Before becoming Prime Minister, Tony Abbott confirmed that neither the ABC nor the SBS would suffer from cuts under his government.
The Opposition’s communications spokesman, Jason Clare, accused the current government of “cutting the guts out of the ABC”. He suggested that if the cuts went ahead, then the Coalition would be breaking yet another election promise, even “after they promised that they wouldn’t do it.”
Read more at ABC.net.au
If the Government goes ahead with cuts to ABC funding, the programs hit the hardest are expected to be news-based. Australians will likely see $6 million stripped from ABC’s radio budgets, the axeing of Friday’s state-based 7.30 program, Lateline trimmed back, TV production in South Australia cancelled completely and reporting in New Zealand, Tokyo, Bangkok and New Dehli reduced, resulting in the immediate loss of around 20 jobs.
The real cost of these cuts isn’t just a pared-down, less-comprehensive picture of local and global news. Hard working Australian families will also suffer from the Government’s cuts. Not only will the ABC lose $50 million dollars in funding per year, but some 400 to 500 of the ABC’s employees will lose their jobs, some as soon as Christmas, says The Age online.
On Q&A this week, Malcolm Turnbull denied that the cuts were fuelled by an agenda, and said the savings measures were “not punitive measures at all.” While the Government might claim it is not trying to undermine or penalise the ABC, in putting these cuts into action, it will effectively punish those Australian employees of ABC who will lose their jobs.
Is it just me, or in the Government’s aggressive attempts to turn Australia into an economic superpower, is it destroying any chance of the average Australian actually surviving? Manufacturing is closing down and moving off-shore, housing is becoming increasingly difficult to afford and budget cuts to Australian business are putting Australians out of work.
I wonder, for whom is this supposed bright, new, ludicrous economy being built? As a young, 20-something looking towards my future in this country, it doesn’t feel as though my own Government has my best interests at heart. Nor does it appear that the interests of my brothers, my parents or grandparents. Rather, this Government seems to be pursuing only its own interests. And the way it plays its cards close to its chest, only time will tell what really are these true interests.
How do you feel about these cuts to the ABC’s funding? Will you be disappointed to see programs such as Lateline and 7.30 cut? Are these job losses a sad, but necessary by-product of a government trying to tighten its belt?