A report in The Guardian says successive coalition governments have cut $783m out of our ABC since Tony Abbott first came to power.
The Guardian is quoting a new study conducted by the independent think tank Per Capita, which says the ABC is now operating with the smallest budget since the Howard government’s 2% funding cut in 1996 removed $55m from the ABC’s triennial funding but with vastly more services.
It says the number of hours of original scripted (drama) content on ABC TV has been cut in half.
All of these cuts happened as the ABC was expanding into online services, without any additional funding.
More cuts to programming, services and jobs are expected in the next financial year despite six years of downsizing, including the loss of more than 1,000 jobs.
The budget cutbacks over three ABC triennial funding periods – the current one ends in 2022 – have resulted in a significant reduction in programming and services including the end of local sport on TV, Olympics on ABC radioand non-news television production outside Melbourne and Sydney.
Five local newsrooms have closed as have most of the broadcast facilities in the smaller states, and shortwave radio in the Northern Territory has been shut down.
The Per Capita study was commissioned by the GetUp political lobbying organisation.