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ABC and SBS secure additional funding for next 3 years in Federal Budget

NewsKevin Perry

Michelle Guthrie
image source - SMH

The 2016-17 Federal Budget has seen the ABC maintain its existing indexed base funding to maintain the Corporation’s core services, however an additional funding grant of 20 million per year that was put in place by the Gillard government to fund additional news-gathering initiatives has been reduced to $41.4 million over the next three years.

The Enhanced News-Gathering Program was established to bolster local and regional news gathering services. The program included the funding of a number regionally-based digital news reporters, and the ABC Fact Check Unit.

With the reduction in funding now confirmed, it will now be up to new ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie to decide if these programs continue in there present form.

A spokesperson for ABC tonight stated that the organisation would:

“seek to maintain as many of the initiatives as possible, with a focus on delivering for Australians in regional and outer-suburban areas. However, there will necessarily be some changes to staffing and programming in line with the reduced allocation of funds."

Meanwhile SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid welcomed the additional $15.1 million in funding included for SBS in the Federal Budget.

The additional financing is on top of SBS’s base funding allocation which has been maintained for the next three years.

SBS has stated the additional funding will include $8.3 million for continuation of core SBS activities and $6.9 million in 2016-17 to reinstate funds SBS that would have been raised, had proposed legislation to provide SBS with advertising flexibility passed the Senate last year.

Michael Ebeid stating:

“At the heart of SBS is a commitment to contribute to the health of our multicultural society and this funding acknowledges the special value of SBS programs and services to Australian audiences,” he said.
“The funding will support SBS services at a time when there is higher engagement and demand than ever before, with audiences expecting content to be delivered across a multitude of digital platforms and devices.
“It will enable SBS teams to continue delivering on our Charter by providing balanced and high-quality news and current affairs, services that aid participation in Australian life for our four million LOTE (Language other than English) speakers, and unique programs which inspire a greater understanding and appreciation of our nation’s diversity.”