A Senate inquiry will scrutinise the ABC’s recent decision to cut jobs and axe some television programs, which include The New Inventors, Collectors and Art Nation.
It follows an announcement by Director of Television Kim Dalton to reduce production jobs in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. In a memo to staff, he attributed the move to falling audiences and “increasing financial pressures”.
But Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said he wanted answers from managing director, Mark Scott, and noted an increase in ABC’s last triennial funding.
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon is also concerned over the ABC’s ability to create television shows, particularly in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart.
In a letter to Scott, staff have complained, “Under the current mixed model of production, ABC TV internal production staff and budgets have been steadily eroded. Starved of resources and opportunities, we are finding it increasingly difficult to deliver the quality content that the Australian public deserves.”
This week Dalton confirmed a multi-million dollar children’s production, Resistance, would be filmed in Adelaide while dramas Jack Irish and Laid are to be filmed in Melbourne.
The inquiry will report back to the Senate by mid-October.