Public broadcasters welcome extra funding as freeze on ABC indexation lifted

By Jackson Graham

February 7, 2022

Minister for the Arts Paul Fletcher
Minister for communications, urban infrastructure, cities and the arts Paul Fletcher. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Australia’s public service broadcasters will receive a funding boost from the federal government, in a move the media organisations have welcomed as bringing “certainty”. 

Communications minister Paul Fletcher said the government would inject a further $4.2 billion over three years into the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). 

The ABC will receive more than $3.2 billion during the three years and the SBS will receive more than $950 million. 

“The ABC and SBS are essential components of Australia’s diverse media landscape,” Fletcher said. 

The government has also reversed a decision to decouple ABC funding from inflation, in a move that will see indexation return for the broadcaster from next financial year. 

The ABC has previously said this decision had resulted in a budget cut of about $84 million, resulting in job losses, but the federal government refutes this, saying funding was never cut. 

“Each year the funding went up … there was no cut,” Fletcher told ABC Melbourne on Monday. “Accuse me and the government of all kinds of things, but please don’t accuse me of getting the facts wrong,” 

ABC managing director David Anderson welcomed the funding announcement in a statement

“I welcome the funding certainty this announcement brings to the national broadcaster for the next three years,” Anderson said. 

“The triennial funding announcement is an important recognition that the ABC is needed now more than ever, and this funding is required so it can continue to fulfil its vital role in our democratic society.” 

A statement from SBS also welcomed the funding and “the certainty it provides”. 

“It’s an outcome that recognises the value that SBS delivers to Australians, and follows additional funding that SBS has received in past two budgets for the expansion of our language services,” the broadcaster said.

Fletcher has also asked the ABC to provide an annual report on regional staffing, and how much and the type of Australian content it is broadcasting.


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