The Morrison Government has locked in funding of $4.2 billion for the ABC and SBS over the period from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2025.
Minister for Communications, Paul Fletcher, says the funding will allow the ABC and SBS to continue to provide innovative, comprehensive and high quality television, radio and digital media services to all Australians.
He says, “The ABC and SBS are essential components of Australia’s diverse media landscape.
“We’ve delivered an increase in funding for both national broadcasters compared to both the 2016-19 and 2019-22 funding period. This funding commitment is designed to provide certainty for both broadcasters and is being announced well in advance of the next funding period to assist the ABC and SBS to develop their forward plans.”
The ABC will receive $3,284.9 million over the next three years. This includes $45.8 million under the Enhanced News Gathering program to strengthen local public interest journalism in regional communities.
This is an increase of $87.2 million over the current triennium.
The ABC will see a return of indexation on base operational funding as outlined in the May 2021 Budget papers.
ABC Managing Director David Anderson, says, “On behalf of the ABC, I welcome the funding certainty this announcement brings to the national broadcaster for the next three years.
“The $3.3 billion over the next triennium, announced by the Minister Paul Fletcher, sees the resumption of indexation, the continuation of the Enhanced Newsgathering (ENG) program that provides vital services across the country, and ongoing support for audio description services for blind or visually impaired audiences.
“ENG funding has delivered more tailored news to local communities and has seen the ABC invest more in specialist resources that provide vital context and analysis about issues that matter to all Australians.
“Importantly, this announcement also guarantees the ability of the ABC to continue to reinvest funds from the recently concluded Google and Facebook deals into rural and regional services.
“As the ABC’s Managing Director, I have consistently made the case for the resumption of indexation on the ABC’s base funding and the continued support for ENG program.
“The triennial funding announcement is an important recognition that the ABC is needed now more than ever, and this funding is required so it can continue to fulfil its vital role in our democratic society.
“I would like to thank the Minister, Paul Fletcher, and the Government for recognising the enduring value of the ABC as we mark 90 years of serving Australians.”
SBS will receive $953.7 million, including an additional $37.5 million in ongoing funding to support its long-term sustainability.
This is an increase of $56.7 million over the current triennium. A table setting out the funding commitment is attached.
* Note: this is a three-year funding commitment, expiring on 30 June 2024, for additional news services in Arabic and Mandarin. A decision on whether to extend this funding will be taken as part of the 2024/25 Budget, based upon an assessment of the performance of these additional services.
The ABC and SBS will also receive additional funding to support the continuation and expansion of audio description services to blind and vision impaired Australians.
Minister Fletcher has today written to the ABC and SBS outlining their three-year funding packages, and issued Statements of Expectations regarding the reporting by the two organisations in relation to a number of their key activities, including a new National Broadcasters Reporting Framework for Australian Content, and, in the case of the ABC, its rural and regional activities.
The Government says the reporting framework is to increase public transparency around how much the national broadcasters are investing in Australian content.
The ABC and SBS will be asked to report to the ACMA on their provision of, and expenditure on, Australian content in line with the reporting obligations currently in place for commercial television broadcasting licensees.
The will form part of the broader reporting arrangements for Australian content, overseen and administered by the ACMA, who will be provided with an additional $3.3 million over four years to develop and implement a single, harmonised reporting framework for all content providers, including streaming services, national, commercial and subscription broadcasters.
ABC Chair Ita Buttrose, says, “I am delighted with the Government’s decision to commit $3.3 billion over the next three years to the ABC.
“It will allow the national broadcaster to continue doing what it does best – provide information and entertainment to Australians wherever they live.”
Labor’s Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said the government’s announcement is too little, too late, saying the Coalition s only acting now to avoid ABC funding becoming a key election issue. “On the eve of an election, the Liberals want you to forget they’ve spent eight years cutting and attacking the ABC,” she Tweeted.