Budget must restore $631m Coalition has slashed from ABC

The CPSU has called on the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government to use tomorrow's Budget to fully reinstate the $631 million it has slashed from the ABC since 2014.

The Coalition's unprecedented attack on the ABC includes:

  • $196.8 million - Australia Network 10-year contract cancelled - May 2014
  • $43.5 million - 1% "efficiency" "down payment" cut - May 2014
  • $254 million - 4.6% cut to base funding over five years - November 2015
  • $30 million - Cut to Digital Content Delivery funding – May 2016
  • $20 million – Cut to Enhanced News Gathering funding - May 2016
  • $2.8 million - Cross-agency Budget cut - May 2016
  • $84 million - Indexation freeze on base funding - May 2018

TOTAL: $631.1 million

These cuts have come despite then Liberal leader Tony Abbott pledging "no cuts to the ABC or SBS" on the eve of the 2013 Federal Election.

CPSU ABC Section Secretary Sinddy Ealy said: "This Budget presents the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government with one final opportunity to show it values and respects the ABC as much as the Australian public does. Either the Coalition restores the $631 million they’ve ripped out of the ABC over the past five years, or we’ll be reminding all Australian voters of this broken promise and the lasting damage these cuts have caused.”

“Clearly there are elements of the Liberal Party in particular that loath the ABC and its role holding politicians to account and serving all Australians. That’s why senior Liberal Party members voted to privatise the ABC at the party’s national conference in Sydney last year. Prime Minister Scott Morrison can either serve the extreme agenda of a handful of people in his own party, or serve the national interest by restoring this funding.”

“There are a handful of ideologues on the extreme right who hate the ABC, versus 17 million Australians who read, watch or listen to ABC content each and every week. That’s more than seven out of 10 Australians the Coalition has thumbed its nose at by slashing funding, making it so much harder to produce content, from the ABC’s Emergency Broadcasting during the recent bushfires through to Triple J’s Hottest 100, the genius of Bluey on ABC Kids or the brilliant live music broadcasts produced by Classic FM.”

“It isn’t just the Coalition’s past cuts to the ABC that Australians need to be worried about. $41 million in Enhanced News Gathering funding is at risk in this Budget. A good Government would be not just guaranteeing but increasing that funding. It is regional Australians who will be most disadvantaged if this money is cut, showing why the National Party needs to be putting the needs of the country ahead of those of the Liberal Party.”

“The bottom line is that if the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government won’t restore this funding, they are giving Australians 631 million reasons to vote them out at the upcoming Federal Election. An independent, properly funded ABC is vitally important to Australian democracy, and it must be protected for future generations.”