Steady budget for Australia’s media sector

The Treasurer Jim Chalmers has delivered his 2024 Federal Budget in Canberra.

For media and media related organisations it was a steady budget, with few big gains or dips.

 

ABC

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s mission is to “inform, educate and entertain audiences throughout Australia and overseas, through innovative and comprehensive media and related services.”

To do that the ABC will receive $ 1,196 Billion dollars in the 2024-25 financial year, up from 1.137 Billion last financial year. The national broadcaster will be expected to earn $90.6 million from external sources, mostly program sales and licencing, down from $98.4 million last year, perhaps reflecting tighter economic conditions expected in the media sector next year. The ABC’s total budget for 2024-25 is $1.286 Billion.

 

The national broadcaster’s staffing will remain steady at 4,313 people.

 

SBS

The Special Broadcasting Corporation “provides multilingual and multicultural services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians and in so doing reflect Australia’s multicultural society.”

SBS will get $348 million, up from $334 million last year. Because the corporation can accept advertising, it is expected to supplement its government allocation with $155 million in advertising revenue, slightly down from last year’s $156 million.

Staffing will increase to 1,369 people, up from 1,352 last year.

 

CBF

The organisation that provides funds to support community stations, the Community Broadcasting Foundation, had slight increases in line with indexation.

The portfolio details show the 2024/25 budget and forward estimates for the ‘Community Broadcasting Program’ as $22,587 million this financial year, up from $21,893 million last financial.

The CBF’s funding will increase over the forward years: $22,981m in 2025/26, $23,535m in 2026/27 and $24,053m in 2027/28

The Government is currently working through the Review into the Sustainability of Community Broadcasting which is gathering the evidence base for an expected recalibration of support for community broadcasters in the future. Community broadcasters are keenly anticipating the outcome of the review and the government’s response to the sector’s ten year plan for greater impact in every Australian community: Roadmap 2033.

 

 

AFTRS

The Australian Film Television and Radio School “supports the development of a professional screen arts and broadcast culture in Australia including through the provision of specialist industry-focused education, training and research.”

AFTRS will get $27.9 million, up from $24.2 million in the previous financial, and will be expected to earn more than last year in course fees and other sales, $10.3 million, up from $9.4 million last year. The total government allocation plus revenue target is $38 million. Staffing will decrease by 5 people to a head count of 145.

 

NFSA

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia aims to “increase engagement with Australia’s audiovisual culture past and present through developing, preserving, maintaining and promoting the national audiovisual collection of historic and cultural significance.”

NFSA will get $40.8 million, up from $37.2 million last year, plus an additional equity injection of $6.9 million and revenue expectation of $2.5 million, making a total budget of $50.3 million, down from $51 million last year. Staffing will increase by 2 to a head count of 213 people.

 

ACMA

The regulator, Australian Communications and Media Authority’s appropriation is $181 million, down from $194 million last financial year. Staffing is expected to increase from 608 to 654 people.

To bolster new mandatory industry rules on banks, telcos and digital platforms, the Australian Communications and Media Authority will receive $12.4 million over four years from 2024-25 to oversee the review and improve existing scam call and SMS code for telcos, and boost enforcement action to prevent, detect, and disrupt scams.

$48.0 million will extend the Government’s $20.0 million, announced in February this year, to provide free community Wi-Fi services to around 20 First Nations communities, and responds to recommendations from the First Nations Digital Inclusion Advisory Group for mentoring, developing digital capacity and safe digital usage.

The Government will “continue to support media sustainability and deliver communications priorities,” including more money for online safety and other  media related initiatives. Funding includes:

  • $43.2 million over five years from 2024–25 (and $5.9 million per year ongoing) to support the delivery of communications priorities, including responding to emerging and evolving online harms, boosting regional connectivity, digital inclusion and communications resilience.
  • $22.6 million over five years from 2024–25 (and $1.5 million per year ongoing) to support the modernisation of media regulation in Australia, including the implementation of a prominence framework for internet-connected television devices and an expanded anti-siphoning scheme.
  • $12.0 million in 2024–25 to support the financial sustainability of the Australian Associated Press.
  • $1.0 million over two years from 2024–25 to fund education and awareness of new mandatory minimum classifications for gambling-like content in computer games.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland says $1.3 billion over 4 years for her portfolio “will see an upgraded National Broadband Network (NBN) and stronger measures in place to protect against scams, reduce potential harms from gambling-like content in computer games, tackle exposure to age-inappropriate content online, and progress First Nations digital inclusion.” 

See last year’s budget report here.

Modest increases for broadcasters in Federal Budget

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