ABC chair Ita Buttrose is calling for increased funding to support the public broadcaster saying she’s “optimistic that after the election, the funding of the ABC will be given proper consideration.”
Speaking with The Australian, the media heavyweight said the broadcaster remained a critical platform and service as it enters its 90th year.
Appointed to the role by PM Scott Morrison in 2019, Buttrose has become a much-needed thorn in the government’s side; outspoken about political interference affecting the ABC’s progress.
In November, off the back of an announced Senate inquiry into the way the public broadcaster handles public complaints, Buttrose accused the government of working to “intimidate the ABC and mute its role as the country’s most trusted source of public interest journalism.”
“Any incursion of this kind into the ABC’s independence should be seen by Australians for what it is: an attempt to weaken the community’s trust in the public broadcaster,” she said at the time.
“If politicians determine the operation of the national broadcaster’s complaints system, they can influence what is reported by the ABC.”
Despite Buttrose’s ‘no bullshit’ approach with the PM and his senior ministers, and the fact she’s courageously laid the boot in on several occasions, she apparently anticipates no reluctance from the Coalition should they retain leadership at the next election.
“We would hope that the 90th year of the ABC will be the reason for whoever wins government to give us the funding we need”, she said.
She also noted how a Deloitte report commissioned by the ABC into its operations found the broadcaster’s screen productions earned $744million for the economy between 2017 and 2022 and provided 8,300 full-time jobs for Australian workers.
It’s expected the government will announce the latest three-year funding package for the ABC as a part of the 2022 federal budget.