A Federal Government commissioned report recommending outsourcing of all ABC television programs is totally out of touch with the responsibilities of the national broadcaster.
The ABC has a national leadership role to reflect and promote Australian culture. It already works with some independent film makers but it is essential it retain its capacity to initiate and create a diversity of ABC television programming that showcases Australian culture.
The Federal Government should in fact be setting higher standards for Australian content on ABC television.
The ABC already has a highly talented workforce and it is counterproductive to even consider disbanding this national pool of talent. Closure of regional television production has been strongly opposed by many Australians.
A senate enquiry last year revealed that the ABC was overspending scarce resources on BBC content while limiting resources to ABC staff to develop national material.
Therefore the Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull has a fresh opportunity to stamp his authority on the future of the ABC by demanding increased Australian content from the ABC staff.
Outsourcing television content would signal the end of the ABC and must be strongly opposed by all Australians.
• Glenys Stradijot: Cost-cutting review of ABC must become public
“Leaks from Minister Turnbull’s cost-cutting review of the ABC are alarming,” said Glenys Stradijot, ABC Friends national spokesperson.
“The type of broadcaster envisaged by the review is privatisation of the ABC.
“It breaks two Coalition pre-election promises: its promise not to cut the ABC and its promise not to privatise the ABC.
“Independent surveys regularly reveal how highly Australians trust and value the public broadcaster.
“The community will not accept the ABC becoming merely a platform for programs produced by the same private production companies that make content for commercial television.
“They will not except the operations of the ABC being even more centralised in Sydney. The ABC is meant to be a ‘national’ broadcaster.
“Australians are entitled to know what is being considered for their national public broadcaster.
“Full details of the cost-cutting review must immediately be made public.
“Minister Turnbull needs to explain why his appointee to head the review does not have a conflict of interest.
Peter Lewis previously held senior positions with Seven West Media. After having been given access to confidential information about the internal operations of the ABC and developing recommendations for its future, he is soon to commence a position as chief financial officer for another major commercial competitor to the ABC,” said Glenys Stradijot.