PM con­fi­dent ABC re­gional safe from cuts

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS - Can­berra

Malcolm Turn­bull ac­cepts the ABC’s claim it is not cut­ting staff or lo­cal con­tent as it changes pro­gram­ming in re­gional ar­eas.

But Op­po­si­tion Leader Bill Shorten is not so sure, tak­ing aim at the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment for agree­ing to bud­get cuts.

The pub­lic broad­caster in­sists there will not be job losses as its Morn­ings pro­gram is folded into a longer ver­sion of Break­fast with a new fea­tures show to fol­low.

Re­gional divi­sion head Fiona Reynolds told ABC ra­dio they weren’t los­ing any re­gional air­time to metro au­di­ences.

“We’re not giv­ing one minute of air time back to metro from re­gional be­cause we have to ac­cept that we have dif­fer­ent au­di­ences in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try,” she said.

The Prime Min­is­ter ac­cepted that, say­ing he had no rea­son to doubt there would not be re­duc­tion in lo­cal con­tent.

Mr Turn­bull even joked he could not be­lieve the Tas­ma­nian ABC pro­gram host Leon Comp­ton was sug­gest­ing his es­teemed em­ployer could be mis­lead­ing peo­ple.

“How can you live with your­self work­ing for a com­pany that you’re so scep­ti­cal about? Must be a life of tor­ment you go through,” he joked.

But Mr Shorten took aim at the “au­da­cious” Gov­ern­ment, say­ing MPs were com­plain­ing now, de­spite vot­ing for ABC fund­ing cuts in the last two bud­gets.

“Be­fore the last elec­tion the Lib­eral and Na­tional par­ties promised there’d be no cuts to the ABC — since then they’ve folded their arms and whis­tled whilst $250 mil­lion has been cut from pub­lic broadcasting,” he said.

Na­tion­als MPs are not happy about the news, with leader War­ren Truss warn­ing there was not a “high level of trust” in re­gional Aus­tralia that the broad­caster will not cut lo­cal con­tent.

“I still have very vig­or­ously in my mem­ory the time when the Howard and An­der­son gov­ern­ment pro­vided $50 mil­lion to the ABC to im­prove ser­vices in re­gional com­mu­ni­ties and they used some of that money to close stu­dios,” he told ABC ra­dio.

Mr Truss said re­gional MPs were briefed on changes only a few months ago but they were “left out of the loop” about the de­ci­sion. AAP

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