Funding certainty for our public broadcasters and a boost for newswires

by Anna Chang

In good news for Australia’s public broadcasters, the government has made good on its election promise to commit to five-year funding cycles for the ABC and SBS.

Previously, our public broadcasters were consigned to triennial (3 year) funding agreements, and the new five-year funding cycle gives both public broadcasters the stability to plan for the longer term. The ABC is to receive $1.1 billion per year, and SBS $334.9 million.

Furthermore, the ABC and SBS will receive an additional $72 million over four years, to provide ongoing funding for several programs which were set to terminate. The ABC’s enhanced news gathering service which specifically supports regional journalist positions in regional bureaus across the country has been given a boost, as has SBS’ media sector support which provides news, content, subtitling and English learning resources to Australians who speak languages other than English. ABC and SBS audio description services, which help make screen content more accessible to audiences who are blind or vision impaired, will also receive additional funding.

Finally, the ABC will receive a further $8.5 million over four years to expand transmission infrastructure in the Pacific under the Indo-Pacific Broadcasting Strategy, with the aim that this funding will provide further access to Australian content and boost media connections in the region.

And in more good news for public interest journalism, the government is also providing a $5 million boost to the Australian Associated Press (AAP) to support public interest journalism and media diversity. As Australia’s only independent newswire, AAP plays a critical role in the health and independence of Australia’s public interest journalism landscape. The newswire provides a crucial service to smaller independent news outlets such as Guardian Australia, and regional and rural news services.

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