04 April 2019

Joint with Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition, and Stephen Jones MP, Shadow Minister for Regional Communications.

A Shorten Labor Government will provide $13 million to the ABC to support regional broadcasting services, more local and regional content, emergency broadcasting and the creation of a News Literacy Program. This investment will also create more jobs in regional Australia.

The ABC provides vital local news services. In fact, 17 million Australians consume some form of ABC content every week – it is part of our national fabric.

That’s why Labor will always stand up for the ABC and fight against the conservatives’ unrelenting attacks against our public broadcaster.

The Coalition came to government on the promise of no cuts to the ABC. That was a lie.

Since 2013, the Liberals have cut $366 million from the ABC, which has seen 800 staff forced to walk out the door, the shutdown of shortwave radio and a reduction in Australian content.

On top of these devastating cuts, the Liberals repealed the two out of three cross-media control rule, waving through further consolidation of media in Australia’s already highly concentrated media market, including in regional areas.   

In this environment, the ABC has an even greater responsibility to support the delivery of local and regional news, information gathering and emergency broadcasting.

While the ABC has stretched itself to invest in regional journalism and emergency broadcasting, a number of regional and outer-suburban areas with substantial populations remain underserved.

That’s why Labor will provide the ABC with an additional $13 million over three years – that means more content for regional areas and more local jobs. The funding will include:

  • $10 million over three years for Local and Regional Media and Emergency Broadcasting. This will enable the ABC to address coverage gaps and improve emergency broadcasting services in areas identified by the ABC as high need. It will also bring more local and state news to local and national audiences, and create over 30 new jobs.
  • $3 million over three years for a News Literacy Program that builds on the ABC’s trusted foundational work, including the success of its 2018 Media Literacy week initiative, with a range of programs and initiatives for use by teachers and students to develop skills to become smart media consumers, and to educate young Australians about news. News literacy is one way to combat the spread of misinformation and the ability for our kids to discern what is real and what is fake information is more important than ever.

This funding comes on top of our commitment to restore the Morrison Government’s unfair $83.7 million cut to the ABC which was locked in in Tuesday’s con Budget. It is also in addition to our $2 million commitment to restore shortwave radio in the NT and guarantee of stable funding over the next ABC budget cycle.

Labor understands the ABC is one of Australia’s most trusted institutions, and now, more than ever, Australians need the ABC – our strong, trusted and independent public broadcaster.
Only Labor will support and maintain the ABC as our comprehensive national broadcaster because we will make multinationals pay their fair share and close tax loopholes used by the top end of town.

A factsheet with more information can be found here.