Senator proposes state-based local quotas for ABC


Independent senator Nick Xenophon has proposed the ABC’s charter should be re-written to include state-based local quotas in television production.

It follows the closure of local production at ABC Adelaide, outside of News, and the departure of around 400 staff due to government funding cuts.

Senator Xenophon told ABC managing director Mark Scott at a Senate Inquiry in Adelaide, “We need to change the ABC charter to require specific amounts of local content.

“In other words, you need to have a local edition of The 7.30 Report.

“We need to have that local content and local television production because we’ve seen an increase in centralisation.”

But Scott defended ABC’s mixed model including outsourcing production and attracting funding body support.

“If you want us to do drama internally, we could do that but we would not be able to access some of the talent we could access,” he said.

“We certainly wouldn’t be able to access some of the industry expertise and we’d make less than half the drama that we make today.”

He said local content quotas would reduce the ABC’s flexibility and affect its editorial content.

“We think if imposed, it would constitute a significant financial impost and it would reduce the ABC board’s independence,” he said.

“You’re not seriously suggesting this bill would in any way compromise editorial independence?” Xenophon replied.

“We’re not telling you what to put in the content.”

The Environment and Communications Legislation Committee is looking at a bill to amend the ABC’s charter.

Source: ABC, AAP


  1. ““In other words, you need to have a local edition of The 7.30 Report.”

    Pretty sure we had that until the government took money away from the ABC.

  2. Dumb parochialism moving jobs from one area to another and wasting resources. It doesn’t matter where most shows are set, shot or edited as long as there’s a mixture. Nor does Federal politics need to be locally done. They do state base news and current affairs on TV, Radio and the internet.

    The BBC went down this road imposing regional production quotas. They advertised for regional production jobs and a lot of 2nd rate writers, producers and directors from London got the regional jobs, because the great ones didn’t want to move to Belfast or Yorkshire, where they made the same stuff they would have made in London, except with shots of the local trees and hills in the background. Most of them flopped and were 6 or 12 episodes and watched by no one e.g. Mayday (Broadchurch Rip Off). It coincides with the BBC’s decline as a top drama producer.

    A lot of TV is made for the…

  3. In theory I like the idea, but it is not going to happen for the forseeable future because of the cost – ie certain roles/functions will need to exist in every state instead of just in Sydney etc..

  4. ABC in Qld has been neutered long ago. They don’t even have the facilities to mount an outside broadcast – that was taken away from them long ago. The only cameras they have are in the newsroom – they don’t have viewfinders and are not able to used by a human.
    The commercials abandoned studio state based production (not news) years ago because the law allows them. The ABC shoukd be required to fill the void, even if just for local political accountability. The esteemed senator is, as usual, bang on right.

  5. On Wed., Nick Xenephon tried to have legislation amended to force regional SA TV to produce a certain amount of local content, just like is required in every other state. Curiously his attempt was defeated in the Senate.

  6. ABC Local Radio (for me it is 612 Brisbane) have excellent coverage of local issues, as does the ABC News website and local and state twitter feeds. The production costs for tv coverage is too much. The only state based / local coverage that commercial networks do seem to be news, weekend footy comps and paid-for tourism shows on Sunday afternoon.

  7. TasTVcameraman

    A good idea, the ABC does not like it because they are cutting state based production facilities, and going to a central base very much like the commercial stations. We need state based facilities.

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