ABC Friends News

Urgent re-think needed as ABC braces for severe cuts

ABC Friends Victoria is calling on the Federal Government to re-think its planned severe cuts to the national broadcaster, given the brilliant job it did during the summer’s bushfire crisis, and its efforts to keep the public well informed during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking from his home on the Mornington Peninsula, State ABC Friends President Peter Monie said the ABC was certainly proving itself as an invaluable asset to the Australian people.

“This is not the time to be considering cutting-back the services offered by our national broadcaster,” Mr. Monie said.

“With the government giving away so very much money in an effort to stimulate the economy, surely it could see its way clear to making what would be, by comparison, a relatively inexpensive investment in supporting the ABC – rather than continue to undermine it.”

“Given the fact the ABC is sprinting ahead of the media field in online ratings – with the ABC’s online following reaching unprecedented levels, it makes no sense to be cutting it off at the knees.”

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ABC News Websites have held the top spot in the Nielsen Digital Content Ratings for the third month, increasing its audience in March by 53% to more than 15 million people.

The ABC is way ahead of its closest rival, News Limited, which had about three million fewer visitors.

People also stay with the ABC for longer.

Our ABC was widely praised during and after the summer bushfires, and it is likely to have saved many lives by warning people of approaching catastrophe.

During COVID-19, the ABC has beefed-up its services – largely without being asked to.

For instance, it has launched a $5 million development fund to provide urgent and critical support to independent Australian producers and safeguard local content and creativity during the pandemic.

In addition, the ABC has added more than 200 additional hours of on-demand Australian content on its iView service.

With the lights out in theatres and concert halls due to COVID-19, the ABC is bringing the best of the arts into people’s homes for the first time, with performances by our leading arts and music companies, alongside new arts documentaries and radio programs.

And without being asked to do so – and with certainly no additional funding, the ABC has been catering to the needs of home-bound students by expanding its educational offerings for schools.

ABC Education worked with state and territory education departments, and other education providers, to deliver additional curriculum-linked content to children of all ages.

“It’s high time this government recognised the value of the ABC to all Australians,” said Peter Monie.

“The anticipated 2020 cutbacks – believed to include 200 redundancies – need to be reversed immediately.”