“No ifs, no buts, no ABC cuts”
By Vic Saule
After promising that there would be “no cuts to the ABC or SBS”, Tony Abbott and the Liberal party has yet again trolled the nation by announcing that the ABC would lose $254 million in funding over the next five years.
This expensive prank on Australia’s only public funded broadcasters, the second most trusted institutions in Australia, inspired 3000 protestors to congregate outside of Town Hall on Saturday.
The SBS must also find $53 million in savings over the same amount of time.
“If you cut half a billion dollars from the ABC and SBS, you can't protect broadcasting, you can't protect programming, you can't protect Australian content,” Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said at the rally.
Saturday’s protest was one in a series of nation-wide protests for the week-long “Our stories, our future, our ABC” campaign initiated last Tuesday by the Community and Public Sector Union.
Plibersek and other impassioned ABC supporters from a range of demographics made speeches at the rally defending the cultural significant of the publicly funded broadcast company.
The ABC’s importance as an independent news outlet within Australia’s increasingly more commercialised media landscape was also emphasised.
The official announcement over which ABC jobs and programs will be affected by the cuts will be announced on Monday by Head of the ABC Mark Scott.
It is speculated that current affairs programs for rural areas of Australia, as well as the production office in South Australia will be hit hardest by the cuts.
According to a Nordcity Survey taken in 2011, Australia is the 13th biggest spender on public broadcasting per inhabitant.