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ABC Board has lost the plot



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1 October, 1998 £3 www.cpeu.org S ® 02 9334 9200

MEDIA RELEASE

ABC Board has lost the Plot

ABC Board Sells Home of Police Rescue and Wildside at French’s Forrest

“Australia has lost its prime film production site when the ABC Board decided yesterday to sell its French’s Forrest site*' Lisa Fovvkes, ABC Section Secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union said today.

The Board’s decision to sell the plot o f land in French’s Forrest is likely to be the nail in the coffin of ABC produced drama. They have literally lost the ploLshe said.

Drama production at the ABC has already been hit hard by the Coalition’s $66 million

Film and TV producers have strongly argued that the French’s Forrest site must be retained. The site offers the kind o f flexibility needed to make good action dramas. Programs like Police Rescue and Wildside couldn’t have been made without a site like French’s Forrest Lisa Fowkes said.

The ABC Board has said that they will be able to leaseback the site until the year 2000 by which time they will have built a new studio at Gore Hill. No one in the ABC really believes the story she said. It will be like waiting for the Sydney second airport to be built.

“Senator Alston has been trying to blackmail the ABC into getting out of all non news and current affairs production. He has tried to do this by forcing the ABC to sell its production sites and facilities with the threat (contained in their recently released Broadcasting Policy) that proper funding of its digitisation program is to be tied to property sales," she said. “No one is going to believe that a new studio is going to be built at Gore Hill until we see the foundations being poured” .

Lisa Fowkes said that the decision to sell the site was ludicrous. In all probability it is going to cost more to build a new site than the ABC will get back from its fire sale of the French’s Forrest site. To top it off we will have to give up a truly wonderful site - a site big enough to create entire streetscapes for a small studio space. It makes no sense. But not much the ABC Board docs nowadays make that much sense she added.

For further comment contact Lisa Fowkes on 0293349227 or 0419230791