The public don’t think we’re overfunded, they think we’re good value: Mark Scott

ABC Managing Director Mark Scott has appeared on Raphael Epstein’s Drive program on ABC774 Melbourne, to respond to the cuts imposed on the ABC in last night’s budget.

He explained how the cuts were not foreshadowed before the election and that the result of budget cuts will be a reduction in services and content.

He also commented on how the ABC had been using savings to increase efficiency, the importance of the now cut Australian Network, and the importance of a fully functioning ABC to the community.

A backflip on the Government’s pre-election stance

“75% of the public watch, listen, log in every week so the public were assured that public funding wouldn’t be cut – that’s the policy they liked. So it’s a disappointing outcome.”

“I’m not going to get into the political debates that are raging on today, let me simply say though, what’s on the record: There were commitments made before and after the election that ABC funding would be maintained.”

“Today we are looking at a reality that says $120 million is being taken out of our budget in the next 4 years.”

Budget cuts will reduce services and content rather than increase efficiency

“We have taken that efficiency and reinvested it in the ABC in new services that our public have really taken advantage of”

 “The public don’t think we’re overfunded, they think we’re good value so let us keep the money we have so we can reinvest it so we can reinvest it so the ABC remains strong and vibrant.”

“If we can’t reinvest in new technology, in new kind of programming and new content then the ABC will get weaker overtime.”

“Two things will happen if budget is cut further: one is that we’ll have no money to invest in new services, new programs and new initiatives.”

“Another thing is that if our budget gets cut, we will have to cut back on services. We will have to reduce our footprint.”

The Australian Network

“I got a letter from DFAT at 10 o’clock last night giving us 90 working  days notice over the funding of that service and today we’re in meetings working out what that means.”

“We set a number of targets in that agreement [with DFAT about the goals of The Australia Network] and we’re on track to make all those targets.”
“I don’t feel we’ve had a detailed consultive process with DFAT around this.”
“They never sat down with us and said how can we save money, are they other ways we can figure it?”
“We still have in our charter a responsibility to deliver international broadcasting, that it’s the board’s legal responsibility to ensure we deliver on that charter.”
“The amount of money we had yesterday to deliver ABC international services was $35 million and today its $15million so we need to work out what kind of services we can afford to provide.”

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