Preamble: What follows is a ‘log-of-claims’ put forward in the public interest by ABC Friends National to guarantee both the funding and the political independence of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Log of Claims
- We seek additional funding for the ABC from 2019/20 additional to reversing the ‘freeze’ already announced by the Government of $83.7 million over the next triennial budget.
- In establishing the required budgetary enhancement, we note the $254 million reduction imposed by the Coalition Government in 2014, plus the withdrawal by DFAT of $210 million which funded the Australia Network. Further, that current ABC funding represents just .02% of total federal government expenditure; this compares to .06% in 1980. Government should aim to restore ABC funding as a proportion of federal government expenditure, with a target of 0.5% by 2025.
- Additional resources are required to allow the ABC to resume its Charter role of reporting international news from our Asian Pacific neighbours as well as providing Australian voices back into this region.
- Further, it is in the public interest that ABC short wave transmission be restored as soon as possible.
- The ABC requires additional funding to ensure it can produce quality Australian content in all areas of broadcast programming, especially News and Current Affairs with special focus on the ABC’s leadership role in providing services to Regional Australia and the Asia Pacific Region.
- Australians expect the next Federal Government to focus on the restoration of public broadcasting and media services in Australia to enable it to set a high standard of quality local content, especially in Children’s Television.
- And, of special importance, is a commitment to de-politicise board appointments and to provide certainty for management and board planning by introducing rolling five year budgets, with the first three years given legislative protection. We recommend that the next Australian government appoint an independent, expert panel committed to public broadcasting to advise it on funding required for the ABC to fully meet its Charter obligations - and on terms which serve the public interest and Australian democracy.
- Finally, we seek a categoric commitment that no political party will pursue any policy of privatisation of the ABC.