Modest increases for broadcasters in Federal Budget

In one of the most significant moves announced in tonight’s Federal Budget, the ABC and SBS will move to 5 year funding arrangements as a results of new funding arrangements announced in this year’s Federal Budget.



The ABC’s annual funding for next year will be $1.1 billion and SBS will receive $334.9 million, delivering modest increases in base funding. There will also be small amount of additional funding for special projects.

The national broadcasters will receive an additional $72 million over four years to extend and roll three previously terminating programs into ongoing funding:

  • ABC Enhanced News Gathering, which supports regional journalist positions in regional bureaus throughout Australia
  • ABC and SBS Audio Description, to make screen content more accessible to audiences who are blind or vision impaired
  • SBS Media Sector Support, which provides news, content, subtitling and English learning resources to Australians who speak languages other than English, with a focus on Chinese and Arabic communities

The ABC will also receive $8.5 million over four years to expand transmission infrastructure in the Pacific.

Funding for the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) service, which also carries radio services across regional and remote Australia, will be renewed for an additional seven years until 2030-31.

The comprehensive income statement shows that the ABC received $1.1 billion from the government this (2022-23) financial year, and earnt an additional $93 million from revenue, interest and asset sales. Next financial year the ABC will receive $1.13 billion and be expected to earn an additional $86 million of its own revenue.

The detailed portfolio statements (Fig 3.2 ABC) show that the ABC will spend $579 million on staffing costs in the next financial year (2023-24), up from $576 million this financial. The additional $3 million for staffing costs is not likely to cover the impending 4% pay rise (11% over three years) and may result in cuts as the ABC attempts to find additional funds to pay for the increased wage bill for its 4,213 staff listed in the Average Staffing Level line of the budget papers.



SBS, with an average staffing level of 1,352 people, will increase its government appropriation from $316 million this financial (2022-23) to $334 million (Fig 3.2 SBS).  It will spend $184 million next financial year on its wages bill.



The Australian Film Television and Radio School will get a $2 million increase in government funding, from $22.9 million this financial to $24.2 million next financial. It will be expected to earn another $10 million of its own revenue from course fees, production sales and other revenue measures.

AFTRS staffing level is expected to increase modestly from 140 to 145 staff next financial year. AFTRS will receive $0.5 million to support course offerings and upgrade facilities.


The National Film and Sound Archive will get a big injection of funding, up from $29.7 million this financial to $37.2 million next financial year (2023-24) with further increases in the following years. Current staff numbers are expected to grow slightly, from 182 current staff to 187 staff next financial year.

Measures for community broadcasting and commercial radio were previously announced in the mini-budget last year, shortly after the Labor government gained office.


Welcoming the new funding announcements, ABC Managing Director David Anderson said: “The five-year budget allocation reflects the ABC’s important role in Australian life and the value it delivers to the community.

 “The funding provides a solid foundation as the ABC continues to evolve its services to meet the needs of Australian audiences. The next five years will be crucial to the ABC as we navigate significant changes in media consumption, industry-wide cost pressures and increasing requirements to modernise and adapt to new technology.   

“The funding certainty provided by the Budget is vital, as it enables the ABC to plan with confidence. Notwithstanding the five-year funding outcome, the ABC will need to meet the challenge of upward cost pressure, and position itself to continue to be trusted, relevant and valued by all Australians into the future.

“I will soon announce a new Five-Year Plan setting out the ABC’s priorities. The plan will ensure that we embrace the opportunities of the future, and that the ABC remains the most important cultural institution for all Australians.”


Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said:

“The Albanese Government will deliver a more connected, informed, and empowered Australia by providing funding stability to critical institutions in the communications sector in the 2023-24 Budget.

“Labor’s commitments provide certainty, and support many important areas… These measures will collectively improve online safety, safeguard our democracy, enhance emergency communications, and support regional and First Nations communities – key priorities for the Government.”


Outlining the overall economic conditions, Treasurer Jim Chalmers told the Parliament in his budget speech:

“The global economy is slowing due to persistent inflation, higher interest rates and financial sector strains.

“Outside of the pandemic and the Global Financial Crisis, the next 2 years are expected to be the weakest for global growth in over 2 decades. This will affect us here in Australia.

“Our economic growth is expected to slow from 3 ¼ per cent in 2022–23 to 1 ½ per cent the year after, before recovering to 2 ¼ per cent in the next. Despite this, our economy will continue to create jobs and unemployment is expected to remain low by historical standards – 4 ¼ per cent in 2023–24, 4 ½ the year after.

“In this environment, inflation remains our primary economic challenge – It drives rate rises; it erodes real wages – Which is why this Budget is carefully calibrated to alleviate inflationary pressures, not add to them.”


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