ABC funding cuts will be ‘challenging‘

ABC funding cuts will be ‘challenging‘

The ABC is yet to develop a game plan on how it will grapple with the latest round of budget cuts.

In this year‘s budget, the Turnbull government introduced a three-year funding freeze that slashed $84 million from the public broadcaster, following a decision to axe $43 million in funding for news and current affairs.

“We know it will be challenging for us,” ABC chief financial officer Louise Higgins told a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday night.

Operating costs were rising faster than inflation and Ms Higgins flagged there would be upcoming funding talks with the government.

The funding freeze hits from July 2019.

The national broadcaster would be waiting until closer to that time to contemplate “where services would be cut or jobs lost”.

“It wouldn‘t be responsible for us at this time to be making those decisions, until we have exhausted the normal process with the government,” Ms Higgins said.

Thirty years ago the ABC had five platforms and 6000 staff but now it has six times the platforms and 4000 staff, while per capita funding had halved.

“This is not a complaint but a statement of reality,” Ms Higgins said.

Asked how many job losses could stem from the $84 million cut, Ms Higgins declined to speculate saying it would cause distress to staff.

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie is not at the hearing for family reasons.

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