ABC cuts will hurt Regional Australia

In last night’s Senate Estimates hearings, ABC Managing Director Mark Scott could not guarantee that cuts to the ABC’s budget would not affect ABC Regional Radio services.

MARK SCOTT: …I can give no guarantees that any services would be spared, including rural services if our funding was cut.

SENATOR URQUHART: Does that lack of guarantee refer to radio as well?

MR SCOTT: Yes Senator.

SENATOR URQUHART: And particularly in regional Australia.

MR SCOTT: If our funding was somehow cut we would need to look at all our services, radio, television, online, in the cities and in the bush.

Senate Estimates, 25 February 2014

ABC Regional Radio provides vital services to local communities and any cuts to the ABC budget would hurt these communities and be another broken promise by Tony Abbott.

“ABC Regional Radio is the lifeblood of many rural and regional communities and provides local news, public announcements, as well as vitally important emergency broadcasts,” Mr Clare said.

Before the election Tony Abbott promised hand on heart there will be “no cuts to the ABC”.

He said on SBS News the night before the election:

“No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS.”

Since then the Government has established a Commission of Audit which is examining the ABC budget and an Efficiency Review into the ABC and SBS.

“If the ABC budget is cut in May, the Prime Minister will have lied again to the Australian people. Now we also know that these cuts will hurt regional Australia,” Mr Clare said.

“I call on National Party Members and Senators to show some guts and stand up to Tony Abbott and his razor gang. If Tony Abbott cuts the ABC budget it will hurt regional communities across Australia,” Ms Rowland said.

Mr Clare and Ms Rowland launched a petition calling on the community to register their opposition to Tony Abbott’s cuts to the ABC budget: