As state shutdowns loom for all but non-essential services, ABC has been ruled as an essential service.
This fits with broadcasting being considered as essential.
Last night the prime minister announced all states and territories will force key places of “social gathering” to close, beginning at midday today. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to address media on Monday around plans for a statewide shutdown for all but non-essential services.
In a note to staff yesterday, ABC Managing Director David Anderson told staff, “The gravity of the predicament Australia faces is clear, and we are finalising our plans for the public shut-down of non-essential services in at least two states, New South Wales and Victoria, with others set to follow. The public shut-down will begin from Tuesday.
“Today I have spoken to the Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher who confirmed that the ABC is an essential service that must continue to operate through the public shut-down. The public shut-down does not prevent ABC staff from performing their duties.
“We have been preparing for this outcome for several weeks and I am confident we have done everything we can at this stage to keep all of you as safe as possible while making sure our services as the national broadcaster can continue. While the need to public shut-down non-essential services is clearly understood by all of us, it is also crucial that the ABC and its staff can continue gathering news and information and providing broadcast services to Australian audiences.
“Everyday millions of Australians are turning to us across all platforms for information, advice and much more. We need to ensure we continue to meet this expectation to our highest abilities.
“Please remember how important it is to monitor your own health and those around you. And if you are unwell, please do not come into work.”
Meanwhile ABC also confirmed Foreign Correspondent will remain despite the difficulties for international newsgathering.
“Many program episodes for the current season have already been shot, and we are also able to revisit and update previous stories,” ABC said in a statement.
“As a result, we can confirm Foreign Correspondent will be completing its full season this year. There is no suggestion of the program being cancelled.
“We’re also talking to all our international correspondents about keeping them safe in their posts or facilitating getting them and their families back home temporarily.”