ABC job cuts: Australian public broadcaster to shed 250 staff

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Australia’s national broadcaster says it will cut 250 jobs

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) says it will shed 250 jobs in an effort to find savings after budget cuts by the Australian government.

The public broadcaster said staff would be cut across “every division”, including its newsrooms and TV productions.

Some popular programmes and websites will also be axed or scaled down.

The broadcaster said it needed to make up a A$84m £46m;$58m) shortfall.

It had previously said that job cuts were inevitable after a three-year indexation freeze announced by Australia’s conservative government in 2018.

“We anticipate we will farewell as many as 250 people through this process, valued colleagues who have made tremendous contributions to the ABC and to our audiences,” Managing Director David Anderson told staff on Wednesday.

Up to 70 jobs are expected to be cut from its news division, along with a long-running radio morning news bulletin. A youth-oriented lifestyle site, ABC Life, will lose up to half of its staff and be rebranded.

On Wednesday, many staff expressed sadness over the scale of the cuts.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the job losses were a matter for ABC management.

But some current and former staff have criticised the government for cutting funding to the ABC, which has been rated Australia’s most trusted news source by the Reuters Institute Digital News Report.

As the nation’s emergency broadcaster, the ABC has also been widely praised this year for conveying life-saving information to local communities during Australia’s bushfire crisis.

Emergency coverage of the bushfires added an extra A$3m to the broadcaster’s operating costs, the organisation revealed earlier this year.

ABC executives told staff the operating budget for next year would be more than 10% lower than it was in 2013.

The cuts follow sweep job losses across Australia’s struggling media industry. Titles which have recently folded include BuzzFeed Australia, 10 Daily, and hundreds of community newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch.

The Public Interest Journalism Initiative, a non-partisan organisation, says over 150 newsrooms have closed or temporarily shut in Australia since 2019.

Australian Associated Press, the nation’s 85-year-old newswire, was also set to close before it was rescued by a private investors earlier this month.

The ABC said it planned to have 75% of its staff working outside of Sydney, under a new five-year plan.

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