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Government announces ABC’s new billion dollar funding package

The Morrison government has announced a three-year $4.2 billion funding package for the ABC and SBS just months out from the federal election.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher made the announcement on Monday morning, delivering what he described as a win for the public broadcasters.

“We’ve delivered an increase in funding for both national broadcasters compared to both the 2016-19 and 2019-22 funding period,” Mr Fletcher said.

Previous Coalition governments have cut funding to the ABC starting with the Tony Abbott government in 2014, with Malcolm Turnbull four years later announcing a pause on indexation, which resulted in job losses.

The government in May announced that its “indexation freeze” would be scrapped in the forthcoming budget.

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Camera IconThe government says it is increasing funding for the ABC. NCA NewsWire/David Swift. Credit: News Corp Australia
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Camera IconCommunications Minister Paul Fletcher unveiled a funding package for the ABC and SBS on Monday. NCA NewsWire/Emma Brasier. Credit: News Corp Australia

“The ABC and SBS are essential components of Australia’s diverse media landscape,” Mr Fletcher said.

“We’ve delivered an increase in funding for both national broadcasters compared to both the 2016-19 and 2019-22 funding period.

“This funding commitment is designed to provide certainty for both broadcasters and is being announced well in advance of the next funding period to assist the ABC and SBS to develop their forward plans.”

The ABC will receive $3.2 billion over the period from July 1 this year to June 30 2025.

The figure includes $45.8 million under the new Enhanced News Gathering scheme aimed at boosting regional journalism.

The SBS will receive $953.7 million – an $18.9 million per annum increase – over the same period.

The ABC and SBS will also receive additional funding to support the continuation and expansion of audio description services for the blind and vision impaired.

The government on Monday also unveiled a number of funding announcements for the media sector.

It included a $7.3 million policy program aimed at making choices about the future of the free-to-air TV industry.

It was also proposing an investment scheme which would encourage and require on-demand video streaming platforms to invest in and produce local content.

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