ABC makes first round of cuts with 80 jobs expected to go

australia network logoThe ABC is set to announce its first round of redundancies with 80 roles in its International and Asia Pacific News Centre divisions, following the axing of the Australia Network in May’s budget.

Staff are understood to have been briefed about the plans this lunchtime, which will see around 80 people take forced redundancies as the network prepares to shut down in September. More cuts are expected across the organisation which lost one per cent of its funding in the budget.

The news has drawn anger from the Community and Public Sector Worker’s Union, with president Michael Tull saying the ABC has been put in an “impossible situation” by the government but accusing the corporation of being “in breach of its industrial obligations” by making forced redundancies adding “we are considering the next step.”

ABC managing director Mark Scott has this afternoon sent around an email to staff saying the funding for international projects has been cut from $35m to $15m.

Cuts have been anticipated since the government wiped $43m from the funding it provides to the public broadcaster.

Tull added: “Worse still there may be more job losses to come which will wreck morale among staff and will be bad news for Australians who expect quality services from the ABC.

“This is all part of the Abbott Government’s plan to attack and neuter the ABC. Cutting the Australia Network on the basis that it wasn’t providing value for money was always a fig leaf. The first casualties in this Government’s war on the ABC are the staff who have less than a fortnight before they are sacked.”

Three Australia Network correspondents are among the staff in jeopardy, as the organisation looks to shape the future of its international coverage.

The ABC has declined to confirm a definite figure for the cuts as consultation is ongoing, but has confirmed it will be around 80.

Mark Scott’s email to staff:


I wanted to bring you up to date with planning for ABC International.

Today, the Director of News, Kate Torney, and the Chief Executive of ABC International, Lynley Marshall, have met their employees to advise on the impact of the Federal Government’s decision to cease funding for the Australia Network.

As flagged in my last message, it has taken longer than expected to provide clarity for staff because of financial and logistical complications surrounding the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s exit from the AN contract.

With those matters only just clarified, Kate and Lynley and their teams have worked hard to craft a proposed new model for international services. Difficult decisions need to be made, with the funding envelope for international services reduced from $35 million to $15 million.

The ABC remains committed to fulfilling its charter by delivering a converged service for overseas audience, but this will inevitably involve changes and reduced staffing levels. Consultations with staff have commenced today regarding the proposed changes. These discussions will ultimately determine the final shape of the new service and the timing of the switch-off of the AN television service.

It is a very difficult time for those who have been providing services for our international networks and we will provide the best support we can while making the changes required to fulfil our charter with the new, smaller budget.


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