Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has pledged to restore the $83m that the Turnbull govt has effectively cut from ABC if Labor wins the next election.
The promise positions the broadcaster’s future as a national election issue.
The May budget announced the government was freezing ABC’s annual funding indexation for three years from July 2019, costing the organisation $83.7 million, which managing director Michelle Guthrie warned would hit the broadcaster hard.
On Monday Bill Shorten announced Labor would reverse the ‘funding cuts.’
“This year alone, this out of touch government has cut $83.7 million in ABC funding, launched two damaging public broadcasting inquiries and has three bills before parliament to meddle with the ABC Charter,” he said.
“At a time when too many Australians feel disengaged from their democracy and distrustful of their representatives, Labor wants to restore trust and faith in our institutions.
“Part of restoring trust is supporting a healthy public interest media sector, and protecting that trusted institution – the ABC.”
I wanted you to hear this first. A Shorten Labor Government will reverse Turnbull’s $83.7 million cut. We’ll also guarantee funding certainty over the next ABC budget cycle so they can get on with providing the content and services that Australians trust and rely on. pic.twitter.com/gdJJa28FCR
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) June 11, 2018
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, who has made six complaints about the ABC this year told ABC radio last week the broadcaster was still well resourced.
“Our absolute guarantee and commitment is that the ABC will always be well-resourced to do its important work.”
Shorten also appeared last night on Q&A as the show’s sole guest.