Axed: New Inventors, Art Nation, Collectors.
The ABC has axed New Inventors, Art Nation and Collectors and implemented widespread redundancies in production across the country.
Following recent speculation, ABC director of television Kim Dalton has confirmed today that he had axed New Inventors, Art Nation and Collectors and implemented widespread redundancies in ABC TV production across the country.
The Australian reports ABC executives today handed redundancy notices to dozens of staff across the country, axing arts programming and production units in Adelaide and Perth.
First Tuesday Book Club with Jennifer Byrne and At The Movies are safe, but arts documentaries will be outsourced.
Dalton blamed the increasingly competitive broadcasting environment for the cuts.
“ABC TV management recognises that this can be a very difficult time for some staff and will ensure all the appropriate support is offered,” Mr Dalton said in a staff email.
“However in the face of an increasingly competitive broadcasting environment and increasing financial pressures, ABC TV must ensure it uses its Government funding as efficiently and effectively as possible to deliver maximum value to its audiences and the Australian taxpayer.”
New Inventors was has been rumoured to go for several months but a tweet by panelist Mark Pesce last week was the strongest hint yet it was axed. Its Grand Final airs on August 17.
“As a result of these changes production requirements are less. Therefore ABC TV proposes to reduce the levels of staff in NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory Production Pools resulting in proposed staff redundancies,” he said.
Art Nation, which replaced Sunday Arts, ends on 27th November while internally-produced arts documentaries for Artscape will cease. Fifteen people were this morning were offered redundancies. Other Arts programming will now be outsourced.
Four television staff at ABC Adelaide were made redundant earlier today. Sources say seven more redundancies have just been announced in WA, marking the end of internal TV production in that state.
Tasmanian ABC has escaped cuts with a new program, Auctions, being commissioned to replace Collectors.
Graeme Thomson, the ABC section secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union, said ABC managing director Mark Scott had authorised more outsourcing than the former managing director Jonathan Shier, who was sacked by the board.
“ABC staff have been gutted by this decision. They are personally committed to delivering the quality content that has made the ABC one of Australia’s most important and respected cultural institutions,” he said.
“The cutting of Art Nation, the ABC’s only remaining TV arts program, is an act of cultural vandalism.
“The ABC is at its best when it broadcasts the best international and domestically produced material available. This has meant maintaining a balance between in-house and private sector production.
“Under Head of Television Kim Dalton ideologically driven approach, this balance has been lost. The ABC TV has been reduced to a mere transmission tower broadcasting the same material from the same production houses used by commercial channels. This threatens the ABC’s distinctiveness, rationale and ultimately, its funding.
“The national broadcaster is required to provide quality programs that reflect the diversity of Australia, its cultures and regional perspectives. The announcement today that regional TV producers are to be sacked destroys this important arm of the ABC Charter.”