Thursday, May 11, 2006

ABC Budget - "Best in 20 Years"

On May 9, Australia's national broadcaster, the ABC received Federal Government confirmation of its Budget for 2006/7 and beyond.

ABC Chairman, Donald McDonald said it is the best for the ABC in more than 20 years.

The Budget included the renewal of the ABC's triennial funding for the period 2006-07 to 2008-9, plus an additional A$88.2 million over the three years.

Other headlines:

* an extra A$30 million over three years has been allocated to fund quality Australian drama and documentaries for ABC Television; * an extra A$13.2 million over three years to sustain and enhance regional and local programming across Australia; and * an extra A$45 million over three years for capital renewal to ensure the ABC has the equipment and infrastructure it needs to service the entire population.

Mr McDonald added that the extra funds for television content will ensure an increase in the level and diversity of locally made drama, documentary and children's drama programs. available to the Australian public

ABC Television is watched by more than 13 million Australians each week.

The additional funding for Australian television content is recognition of the key role played by the ABC in the cultural life of the nation.

The budget helps the ABC to further develop its partnerships with independent producers.

In a rapidly changing media environment and new technologies the ABC said it is already setting priorities for the type of content needed on radio and television, along with ABC Online and new digital media platforms, to best serve its audiences. This in turn will help to set the workforce, infrastructure and equipment priorities for the Corporation in the years ahead.

[Not always seen as pro-ABC, the Canberra Government has seen the light and importance of the ABC to the cultural fabric of the nation. Earlier myopic cuts to the shortwave service of Radio Australia over several years is partly ameliorated by the sensible, latest domestic funding. Better confidence and morale now has to be built-up in the organisation. - Editor]

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