ABC to grapple with budget freeze, 200 redundancies expected


The ABC’s 2018-19 annual report shows about 4000 people in the workforce are full time, covering all Australian states and territories, with 70 per cent in content. There are around 4650 staff overall.

Five years ago the ABC employed about 5440 people, with 4680 full-time employees, while in 2008-09 there were 4540 full time staff. There were more than 6000 employees in 1990, with a low of 4134 in 1999.

The total number of redundancies is difficult to predict, the sources said, but the ABC’s executives have committed to telling employees in March what the strategy for the broadcaster will be until 2025.

However, cutting staff from the ABC’s ranks of employees is not simply a move to cut costs. The sources said the decisions being made related to ensuring the broadcaster was more efficient and focused on distinctive programming, with a content plan to be revealed in the next few days covering television, radio, podcasts and digital. ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose is considered by those within the media industry to have a good understanding of the type of content the average taxpayer wants.

The ABC decided to end 67 years of live radio Olympics coverage in November to save about $1 million, pointing to budget pressure and the changing way people consume media, in one of the first major changes for the broadcaster since the funding freeze came into place.

Mr Anderson renegotiated a deal previously costing $4 million a year with Foxtel after saying he’d “prefer to pay nothing” to allow Australians to watch the ABC’s programming on the pay TV service, and has said he’d look at more back-end efficiencies with SBS.

He further committed to reviewing the ABC’s real estate portfolio, which includes 37 properties and is worth more than $500 million, though was unenthusiastic earlier this year when asked about the potential of any ongoing savings from moving the broadcaster out of Ultimo.


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