During a global pandemic where hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs, the last thing we want to be hearing is that more jobs are being axed. But sadly, that’s what I’m here to tell you. The ABC has announced this morning that, in order to adapt to their $84 million budget cut imposed by the Government, 250 jobs are due to be scrapped.
The cuts will affect every division, says ABC’s managing director, David Anderson, and many teams will be halved in order to save money.
The ABC’s lifestyle website, ABC Life, which was created to help reach young people, will become ABC Local, so that it can have a “broader editorial direction”. However, the ABC Life director, Bhakthi Puvanenthiran, said on Twitter that the cuts are “devastating”.
Breaking: We are losing up to half the ABC Life team as we rebrand as ABC Local.
It’s devastating news and the details are unclear right now, but what I know for sure is I’m really proud of what we’ve built, telling diverse stories the ABC has never told before.
— Bhakthi (@bhakthi) June 24, 2020
ABC Cuts Create Uncertainty
As someone who has just completed their final semester in a journalism degree, the Government’s budget cuts for the ABC further demonstrates their disregard for media, journalism and arts.
This disregard can also be seen in the university fee overhaul last week that saw Arts, Media and Communications, and Humanities degrees have their fees increased by 113%. The Government’s aim with these fee increases is to funnel students into degrees that will get them ‘job ready’, despite many politicians having completed Arts degrees themselves.
More than 150 newsrooms have shut their doors since the beginning of 2019, as reported by the Public Interest Journalism Initiative. During a time where so many newsrooms are closing and journalists are losing their jobs, the Government shouldn’t be contributing to these losses.
So many people in my degree, myself included, began to talk about the uncertainty we felt around the future of our careers. Especially when coronavirus hit. And these budget and job cuts, coupled with the fee increases at universities, have surely pushed a lot of budding journalists and those who want to work in media over the edge, worried about what our future holds.
Leader of the opposition, Anthony Albanese, argued today that “now is not the time to lose 250 jobs at the ABC”, and I couldn’t agree more. The media job market has already been drastically reduced over the years, we can’t be neglecting journalists whose only goal is to publish the truth for the public.
People Aren’t Happy About The Cuts
A number of people have come out to condemn the job cuts and big changes at the ABC at the hands of the Government. Even Anthony Albanese has spoken about the cuts, stating:
“The ABC cuts that were made by this government have had an impact on jobs and have had an impact on the quality of services provided … I think the ABC has a critical role, and I’m very sorry to job losses at a time like this. The government surely should be stepping in and saying, “Now of all times is not the time to lose 250 jobs at the ABC.”
As for what’s being said on Twitter, it isn’t positive.
Big changes at aunty:
– 250 jobs going
– 7:45 radio news bulletin axed
– ABC Life axed
– More staff outside Ultimo (aiming for 75%)
– 25% reduction in travel budget
– moving from broadcast to on demand (no broadcast services cut just yet, but on the cards)
— Ashlynne McGhee (@ashmcghee) June 24, 2020
This is just the tip of the iceberg. With more funding cuts, the ABC will be forced to reduce staff and programs at a devastating rate. We must demand a fully funded ABC – it’s too important a service to lose. #ABCcuts #ProtectOurAbc
— GetUp! (@GetUp) June 24, 2020
— MEAA (@withMEAA) June 24, 2020
Thinking of ABC staff today as forced redundancies announced. This is a consequence of @ScottMorrisonMP @PaulFletcherMP LNP calculated defunding. To lose your job in a recession and in a disrupted media market is .. cruel. https://t.co/ABPWyXjlmI
— Quentin Dempster (@QuentinDempster) June 23, 2020
I hope all those fellow journos who were cheering for ABC Life to be cut are reflecting on that right now when there’s a bunch of young, diverse, talented people losing their jobs.
— Jo Lauder (@jolauder) June 24, 2020
Just a reminder that all these ABC job cuts are happening solely because the government demanded them. If you love and value a strong ABC, remember that next election.
— Beverley Wang (@beverleywang) June 24, 2020
Image Source: ABC News