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ABC board faces biggest test - how to bring home the ashes?



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For: Media/In dustrial/Politi cal Journalists

MEDIA RELEASE

4.30pm May;14,1997

ABC Board faces biggest test - How to bring home the Ashes?

It's finally confirmed - a huge funding cut for the ABC in the 1997 Budget, despite an election promise t

Last night’s budget gave the ABC a $491 million budget, well short of the $500 million Bob Mansfield said was the minimum the national broadcaster needed to maintain a comprehensive domestic service.

Graeme Thomson, National Industrial Officer for the CPSU's ABC section called upon the Federal Government to accept responsibility for the effects of this broken election promise - a huge reduction in programs and pther sen/ices on offer to the Australian public - and serious implications of a weakened ABC for the independence, quality and diversity of the Australian media overall.

“Over the next few days we anticipate announcements of major cutbacks to ABC programs and services. The ABC Board has previously announced that II the ABC did not receive at least $500 million, there would be significant program cuts. Flagship programs like AM and PM could be affected. Despite Mr Costello’s assurances last night to regional Australia, the Board has said that ABC regional sen/ices could also be hit.”

ABC staff will be holding a ‘Program Cremation' In the foyer of the ABC’s Ultimo Headquarters from 9.00 am tomorrow (Thursday May 14) as ABC Board members enter the premises to perform the final rites on the national broadcaster.

Well-wishers and admirers are respectfully invited to join grieving staff for a full funoral service and procession of mourning, as they lay to rest the ashes of the ABC as we have known and loved her for the last sixty-five years.

A much-loved Aunt will be dispatched with pipes and lamentations in the company of black-clad, ashen­ faced and flower-bearing friends and colleagues.

ABC staff have been angered at the lack of leadership shown by both the ABC Board and senior management over the past 12 months. Staff have called upon the Board to end the charade that the ABC can handle thesb cuts without pain to viewers and listeners.

ABC staff are cdntinuing their industrial camapign over ABC management’s handling of the cuts and refusal to negotiate.

Join us in prayeij for the repose of the soul of the ABC between 9 and 10am, Thursday 15 May, at ABC Radio, 700 Harris Street, Ultimo.

For further comment contact Graeme Thomson on (02) 93349225