Labor commends the ABC for its coverage of the unprecedented bushfires this fire season.
In times of crisis, Australians turn to the national broadcaster for trusted news and information.
The ABC is a lifeline for at-risk and impacted communities, particularly when other lines of communication are affected by extreme weather events.
Since 2014, and in breach of an election promise not to, the Liberals have cut general ABC funding as well as reduced funding for local news gathering.
Now more than ever we need a strong public broadcaster, yet Scott Morrison has locked in a further $83.7 million in cuts, that will force the ABC to cut 200 staff.
This comes on top of 800 ABC staff already out the door as a result of Liberal cuts, totalling 1,000 ABC staff gone and $366 million in ABC cuts under the Liberals since 2014.
This Government has ignored the ABC’s warning that the latest cut of $83.7 million will make it difficult for the ABC to meet its Charter requirements and audience expectations, and has failed to address the ABC’s resourcing challenges.
Local news and emergency broadcasting is delivered by ABC staff on the ground yet, despite the predicted increase in the frequency and duration of extreme weather events, the Liberals continue to cut the ABC.
The ABC saves lives and Australians deserve a Government that supports the public broadcaster.
Labor calls on the Liberal Government to implement a national response to the bushfire crisis that must include the ABC, given its critical role.
The ABC needs stable and adequate funding and now is no time to cut the ABC.