The ABC will axe up to 250 jobs and cut programming as it deals with budget cuts of A$84 million.
Australian broadcaster ABC has announced to slash 250 jobs to manage an A$84 million reduction in its budge. The austerity measures will see reduction in staff strength across all divisions, lifestyle website ABC Life being branded ABC local, cut back in radio news and outsourcing of majority of its content.
The ABC managing director David Anderson has said that 75% of ABC content-makers would be based outside the organisation’s Ultimo headquarters in Sydney by 2025, and funding would be reallocated to ensure the ABC was more relevant to a majority of Australians and better reflect the diversity within the community.
“We anticipate we may farewell as many as 250 colleagues through this process,” Anderson has reportedly told staff in a briefing.
In an email to all staff earlier this month, Anderson said: “The budget challenge presented to us by the indexation pause remains and we will also need to finalise savings initiatives to meet this challenge. The budget gap of $41 million per annum means that despite our best efforts some of our services will be affected and, regrettably, there will be redundancies”.
ABC’s flagship 7:45am radio news bulletins would end and be replaced a five-minute and a 10-minute bulletin.
Spending on external and independent television productions will be cut by $5 million a year, the ABC Comedy television channel will be rebranded to cater for a broader array of programs and content.
ABC Life editor Bhakthi Puvanenthiran has said on Twitter that her team would be halved under the change. “Breaking: We are losing up to half the ABC Life team as we rebrand as ABC Local. It’s devastating news and the details are unclear right now, but what I know for sure is I’m really proud of what we’ve built, telling diverse stories the ABC has never told before,” read a post on her official twitter handle @bhakthi
The ABC will spend $5 million less each year on external television productions, while its travel budget will be cut by 25 per cent.
The organisation had reportedly faced $254 million in cuts since 2014.
“The changes we make today will strengthen our position for the next five years and beyond,” added Anderson.
The ABC job losses come in the wake of a series of cuts and restructures at other Australian media organisations this year, bringing with them hundreds of job losses.
The Australian Associated Press newswire was saved from impending closure after a group of investors and philanthropists stepped in, offering to buy the business.