11 May 2019

Joint with Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten MP, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Tanya Plibersek MP and Shadow Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke MP.

A Shorten Labor Government will provide $40 million to the ABC and $20 million to the SBS over three years to boost Australian content and stories on Australian screens.

With this investment, the ABC will show additional new and returning scripted drama, comedy, children’s and music programs and the SBS will show additional new drama, documentary and entertainment/factual programs.

The ABC and SBS are at the heart of Australian culture – generations have grown up watching home-grown stories and communities across the country rely on our trusted public broadcasters for information, education and entertainment.

Unfortunately, the Liberals have inflicted funding cuts and ideological attacks on the ABC and SBS.

That’s why Labor will reverse Scott Morrison’s $83.7 million cut to the ABC and invest a further $60 million to grow our public broadcasters into the future.

This election is a clear choice. Australians can have strong and independent national broadcasters under Labor, or a Morrison Liberal Government that cuts the ABC. They cannot have both.  

After promising “No cuts to the ABC or SBS” the Liberals slashed the budgets of the national broadcasters, despite the rising costs of content production and increasing competition from global streaming services.

Our national broadcasters contribute to our sense of national identity and reflect our cultural diversity.

They also play a vital role in supporting Australia’s screen content ecosystem by reinvesting funds into Australia’s independent screen production sector and supporting jobs across Australia.

According to latest Screen Australia Drama Report 2017/18, the ABC is by far the nation’s leading broadcaster in supporting home-grown stories and boosting the Australian screen industry, and production outputs for SBS and NITV have grown over the last five years.

The ABC financed more local drama, comedy and children’s programs across television and online than any other single network, contributing $53 million across 23 titles, including Mystery Road, Riot, Superwog, Pine Gap, Rosehaven and the new ABC KIDS animated series Bluey.

The ABC and SBS are trusted institutions and public assets that generations of Australian taxpayers have built up over successive generations. Labor understands the value of these platforms in the 21st century and will fight Liberal attempts to destroy them.

This is in addition to our previous commitments that a Shorten Labor Government will:                           

  • Reverse Scott Morrison's unfair cut of $83.7 million to the ABC.
  • Guarantee funding certainty over the next ABC budget cycle. 
  • Provide $2 million to the ABC to help restore shortwave radio in the Northern Territory.
  • Provide $10 million to the ABC to bolster regional news, emergency broadcasting and regional jobs. 
  • Provide $3 million to the ABC for a news literacy program to fight disinformation and fake news.
  • Provide $4 million to the ABC and SBS to upgrade systems to provide audio description for blind and low vision Australians.
  • Halt any further spending of what remains of the $17.1 million of taxpayer funds Scott Morrison provided for the provision of commercial TV content to the Pacific, with the intention of redirecting it from the commercial media sector to the ABC and SBS in a manner consistent with the outcomes of two departmental reviews into soft power and Australian broadcasting in the Asia Pacific. Labor awaits the recommendations of these reviews before finalising an integrated policy response.

Only Labor will support and maintain the ABC and SBS as our comprehensive, independent national broadcasters because we will make multinationals pay their fair share and close tax loopholes used by the top end of town. 

End the cuts and chaos.  Vote for change.  Vote for Labor.