Today Senators can vote to recognise and support ABC Emergency Broadcasting Services and start to plan for a National Emergency Communications Plan.
ABC Friends have been informed that a motion will be put forward by the Centre Alliance asking that the Senate:
- Thanks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (‘ABC’) for its service in delivering vital emergency broadcasts and comprehensive coverage during the catastrophic fires;
- Acknowledges the dramatic rise in emergency broadcasts – from 256 in 2017-18, to 371 in 2018-19 and 673 already this year, which have been delivered without additional funding to cover the resources which have been poured into the emergency broadcast effort;
- Recognises that since Boxing Day, as bushfires raged across Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, the ABC handled more than 100 emergency broadcasts in a single week, receiving widespread praise for the practical, life-saving information and the professionalism on display;
- Notes heavy damage sustained to ABC’s radio and TV networks infrastructure during the bushfires particularly at Bateman’s Bay in New South Wales and East Gippsland in Victoria;
- Commends the ABC for mobilising to restore local radio stations as the priority because of their critical role on providing information to communities during disasters;
- Acknowledges that the ABC should not be put into a position of having to economise on its emergency broadcasting due to Government funding cuts; and
- Calls on the Government to reverse the $83.7 million paused indexation funding, as a matter of urgency.
The motion comes after ABC Friends surveyed bushfire affected communities, with 95% of the 750 respondents indicating that they wanted to see a national plan of additional essential communications infrastructure.
More information to come once the motion has been moved.