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Lack of ABC funding a national disgrace.

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Senator John Cherry Australian Democrats Spokesperson for Communications th 4 August, 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/561

Lack of ABC funding a national disgrace

The severe cuts to the ABC announced today highlight the real scandal of this Government’s treatment of the nation’s most important cultural institution, according to the Australian Democrats

Democrats’ spokesperson for Communications, Senator John Cherry said, “It is a national scandal that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has been forced to release this list of cuts today.

“It is a national shame that we see the forced discontinuance of digital multichannels, factual programming of which there is a paucity on commercial programming and the removal of schools production.

“It is appalling that the ABC must now contact education authorities to explain that there will be no new production for schools programs.

“As Managing Director Russell Balding points out, the ABC has been operating a number of program initiatives that have not been funded by this Government, and Australians need to be aware that these include ABC Online - an outstanding source of information which has never been recognised by government funding, and closed captioning for the hearing impaired which costs $4 million annually.

“This government needs to act urgently to rectify this national disgrace that leaves the national broadcaster eroded and all Australians the losers. It is a day of shame for the Minister for Communications,” Senator Cherry concluded

Media contact: Pam Hose 0408 752 750