ABC plan to spend $500m is shelved
PROJECT JetStream, the multimillion-dollar infrastructure plan championed by ousted ABC chairman Justin Milne, has been shelved following his resignation.
Senior government sources told The Sunday Telegraph Mr Milne had never presented the government or ABC board with a blueprint for the project, which was described as a new database designed to kick in when traditional television infrastructure was switched off.
“That’s not happening anytime soon … we never got much detail about it,” one staffer said.
“I don’t know if it’s dead but I don’t know how it will be dealt with now.”
Mr Milne had urged fellow board members to back his mysterious “big database” that was expected to cost $500 million in capital expenditure and take years to complete.
Disagreements between Mr Milne and dumped ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie were believed to be one of the reasons for her recent sacking.
The ABC is unlikely to have a full board or permanent managing director until early next year after a disastrous week for the public broadcaster that saw the sacking of Ms Guthrie and the resignation of Mr Milne. One senior government staffer predicted “it will be February at the earliest” before permanent replacements are found.
Several government sources told The Sunday Telegraph they didn’t believe acting chair Kirstin Ferguson would stay on as chair of the ABC board.
One government MP said deputy chairman Peter Lewis, who oversaw a 2014 review that recommended merging the backroom operations of the ABC and SBS, was being pushed to take over.