MEDIA RELEASE - ENCOURAGING RESPONSE TO LABOR INITIATIVE ON ABC TRANSCRIPTION SERVICE - 9 DECEMBER 2016

Labor welcomes the commitment by ABC Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, to revisit cuts to the ABC’s transcription service pending a broader review. 

The proposed cuts would have saved the ABC a relatively paltry $210,000, but would have come at great cost to many Australians who are hearing impaired.

The ABC's response follows representations made by Ms Rowland and Senator Brown urging a reversal of transcription service cuts, which came to light as a result of Labor questioning at recent Senate Estimates.

“We are encouraged that the ABC has acknowledged the need for its content to be accessible for hearing impaired Australians who rely on these transcription services,” Ms Rowland said.

“Accessibility for all Australians needs to be paramount in our public broadcaster’s decision-making. The ABC’s reply acknowledges this fact and we are encouraged by its response to these concerns.”

Senator Brown said the transcription service is vital as it allows people who are hearing impaired to keep in touch with news and current affairs.

“Inclusion is at the core of the Australian social compact. I am proud that Labor’s initiative has led to this outcome,” Senator Brown said.

"Labor's action on this matter stands in stark contrast to the silence from the Minister for Communications.

“Labor will keep a watching brief on this issue as the ABC develops a broader access strategy,” Senator Brown said.