As ABC Canberra loses jobs and vital news resources, accountability and scrutiny of politicians and influential decision-makers will be undermined - and the Canberra community should be outraged, the ACT Greens said today.
ABC Canberra has indicated that the impact of federal budget cuts will mean that the flagship 7:45am radio news bulletin on 666 Canberra would cease. It will be replaced with an extra 15 minutes of local programming on Lish Fejer’s Breakfast Show. As well, there will be a new local 5 minute radio news bulletin at 08:00, with AM still to follow.
We also understand ABC Canberra will lose 3 positions in News Operations (a director, an editor and a camera operator), and an administrative position.
“These cuts are an attack on public broadcasting, an attack on independent, quality journalism, and an attack on democratic principles,” ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said today.
“In an era of fake news and state-sponsored disinformation, the need for impartial and unbiased media has never been more important.
“The Greens strongly oppose the Budget cuts inflicted on the ABC by the Federal Liberal Government. Today’s announcement lays bare the impact these cuts will have.”
In 2014, Mr Rattenbury put forward a motion in the Assembly condemning “the Federal Coalition Government’s extensive funding cuts to Australia’s public broadcasters,” and noted that “cuts to public broadcasting will have significant detrimental effects in the ACT”, including the loss of local employment, fewer news production resources, and the loss of valuable local programs.
The Canberra Liberals voted against the motion, instead suggesting that this is a matter for the Federal Government, not the ACT Government.
“The ABC, as Australia’s leading public broadcaster, plays a vital job in holding politicians and decision makers to account, and for shining a light on stories that need to be told. The funding cuts the Federal Coalition Government has inflicted diminishes the kind of independent scrutiny and public accountability that the ABC so consistently provides.
“The ACT Greens join with our colleagues across Australia in condemning these cuts, and call on the Federal Government to reverse this outrageous decision.”