Tenth of staff to go as Oz Government cuts ABC funding
| 24 November 2014
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation predicts that at least 400 jobs will be lost as it manages to come to terms with a new huge cut-back in its state funding.
TheMoodys1The Australian Government is to cut $207 million from the ABC's budget from July 2015, another hammer blow following a reduction of $120 million announced in May 2014. The ABC said that the corporation was committed to using back-office and overhead savings to fund changes but that it would "carefully consider" its spending priorities.
Explaining what this would mean for the corporation, managing director Mark Scott stressed that the changes caused by the cuts were designed to ensure that the ABC's reinvestment priorities remain focused on audience strategy and charter obligations. He said: "We anticipate that more than 400 people – close to 10% of our on-going workforce – face potential redundancy as we adjust our activities over coming months. We regard the changes as vital to securing the long-term health of the organisation but I acknowledge that is no comfort to those who will lose their positions ... The ABC cannot stand still and run the risk of becoming less relevant and compelling to this and future generations. What we are doing today is in the best interests of the ABC and its many stakeholders. It is designed to position the organisation for the future."
As part of its response, the ABC has proposed more than 40 projects aimed at transforming its operational base. These include a review of the ABC's property holdings with its Lanceley Place HQ in Sydney to be sold and the closure of its Adelaide television production studio and the winding down of remaining non-news television production in the remaining states. It also announced plans to rationalise of television outside broadcast vans and a scaling back of television sporting broadcasts and has also proposed the creation of two new divisions and a $20 million digital investment fund.
The ABC board has expressed its support for the changes and in a statement said: "The initiatives outlined by Mr Scott comprise a carefully considered response to the twin challenges of technological change and reduced funding ... They provide funds to invest in essential new online and mobile strategies that better connect the ABC with its audiences. Like the best media companies across the globe, the ABC is using its digital expertise to achieve deeper and broader audience engagement and relevance."