Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Labor's threat to the ABC

Download PDFDownload PDF

j. u ■ ^ ' v y v / v y v y w v w 1 ^' χ w · *-t -t 11 u . i . v z.

M e d i a

R e l e a s e

SENATOR THE HON RICHARD ALSTON Minister fa r Communications, the Information Economy and the A rts D eputy Leader of the Government in the Senate


‘After spending the past two years criticising the Coalition for requiring the ABC to play its part in filling the $10 billion Beazley budget black hole, Labor today gave the ABC no real increase in general budget outlays,’ the Minister for Communications, Senator Richard Alston, said today. _ ________ _____

‘Brian Johns last week confirmed that Labor had promised to fully restore funding. Today’s policy is not only a broken promise, it is an overt attack on the ABC’s independence.

‘Labor says that it will “direct” the way the ABC spends its money. This is a direct attack upon the independence of the ABC.

‘The Coalition strongly supports the independence of the ABC Board in funding decisions. Labor clearly does not. So much for “independence”!

‘Labor claims it will give $100 million to the ABC, but then admits that most of this money will be spent over three years to “support the ABC’s move into digital broadcasting”. After subtracting $12.5 million of “directed” money for Radio Australia, $9 million to extend Triple J (not the ABC’s money anyway), and $64 million to meet the ABC’s digital transition, the Labor policy leaves less than $5 million a year for the general budget - less than inflation.

‘The Coalition Government is already providing funds to the ABC for phase one of the transition to digital broadcasting, and will address the necessary funding for phase two and three as required over the next three years.

‘The truth is that Labor has accepted the Coalition’s reduction of the ABC’s budget - a reduction forced upon the Coalition Government by the fact that Labor left us a $10 billion budget deficit.

‘Labor also claims as new money $9 million to expand the transmission network of Triple J and other ABC-FM services - this money isn’t even spent by the ABC, but by the National Transmission Agency, and ignores the fact that the Coalition is already extending Triple J.

‘Labor’s Radio Australia “pledge” is less money than is needed to ran the Cox Peninsula transmitters on their own - without any additional programming.’

Media Contact: Terry O’Connor, Minister’s office 0419 636 879 C 21 16 September 1998