2015 Budget: reductions for ACMA and the national broadcasters

In tonight’s budget the ABC and SBS both had their budgets reduced.

The ABC’s budget has been reduced from $1.113 billion to $1.084 billion, and SBS was reduced from $285 million to $283 million.

There is no money in the ABC’s budget specifically allocated to digital radio services in the coming financial year, however all transmisison services are now budgeted within one activity line. Both ABC and SBS now have a new reporting format, and specific budgets for radio and tv are no longer broken out within the budget documents. All programming content across all platforms is now funded in one expenses category.

Further staff cuts are also listed in the ABC’s budget documents.

The ABC aims to:
* Provide distinctive radio programs that serve all local and regional communities throughout Australia, and satisfy diverse audience needs, nationally and internationally.
* Present television programs of wide appeal and more specialised interest that contribute to the diversity, quality and innovation of the industry generally.
* Engage audiences through new media services, including on broadband and mobile platforms.”

Specific objectives affecting Radio include:

  • continuing to develop the role of ABC local radio and online services as the primary points of connection for communities across Australia at times of emergency;
  • developing and deploying innovative projects that explore the potential of existing and emerging digital media platforms;
  • extending audience experience of content across a variety of formats;
  • delivering enhanced services to audiences in regional and rural Australia, via the new Regional division; and
  • strengthening the reach and impact of ABC international media services in designated target countries.

  The national broadcaster will have less money to spend on these radio, tv and multiplatform program services, with the allocation being reduced from $1.010 billion to $1.003 billion.

SBS’s total funds from government have reduced from $285 million to $283 million, with the broadcaster also expecting to earn less form the sale of good and services in the coming financial year. The goals of the corporation are to “deepen audience engagement and increase the size of its audience.” SBS aims to keep the percentage of non-English language content on radio the same as this year, at 86%.

The Department of Communications has had an increase in its allocation from just over $7 billion to over $9 billion, with a significant additional allocated to implement national security laws for the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (data retention) Act.

Within the Department of Communications’ activities, the budget for the Community Broadcasting Program has been reduced from $17.3 million to $16.8 million, with further reductions across the following years.

Community Broadcasting Association of Australia President, Adrian Basso is displeased with the budget measures saying, “The extension of the Indexation Pause by a further two years ultimately represents an incremental withdrawal of Government support. The community broadcasting sector lost over $1 million in Australian Government funding support through the initial impact of the Administered Program Indexation Pause and now faces a further substantial loss through its extension.”

The ACMA’s budget was reduced from $123 million to $108 million.

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