The Government has provided $17.8 million additional program funding for the ABC in the 2001/02 budget brought down this week. The extra money will go into new programs on radio, TV and new media, in line with priority areas identified by the ABC in its “National Interest Initiatives” funding submission. The ABC’s original request was for $37.25 million in ongoing funding. The $17.8 million is very close to the amount specified for extra multimedia staff to be appointed in regional radio stations.
“We have now turned the corner with funding. This is a good step in the right direction and we will continue to pursue additional government funding for the National Broadcaster to provide the leap that is required,” said Managing Director, Jonathan Shier. “It is a breakthrough that the Government considered and approved additional funding only 12 months into a triennial funding agreement.
” While management will now have to make a reassessment of priorities, this funding will, among other things, lead to increased local programming consistent with the ABC’s stated aim of further decentralisation”, said Shier.
Outlining the details of the extra funding Senator Alston said, “including equity injections and loans, the ABC will receive a total of $745.2 million in Federal Government funding in 2001-02… The Government re-committed to the maintenance of the ABC’s triennial funding in real terms in the 2000-01 Budget. It is also providing additional funding for the ABC’s digital transmission, distribution and capital equipment and for Radio Australia.”
“The increased funding in the 2001-02 Budget together with the funding already being provided demonstrate the Coalition Government’s strong commitment to ensuring that all Australians have access to the ABC’s full array of services.”
One of the loans mentioned by Senator Alston is too assist the ABC finance the purchase and construction of new office accommodation and studio facilities in East Perth. The Government will provide the ABC with a loan of up to $21 million in 2002-2003.