ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has hit back at the government’s decision to cut $84 million from the broadcaster.
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison presented his budget last night, announcing the decision to halt the ABC's annual funding indexation from July 2019.
Of that $84 million, $43 million will be taken from news and current affairs, leaving the ABC will an overall budget of $3.16 billion.
Guthrie told staff she was “very disappointed and concerned” about what amounted to a substantial budget cut and it would impact audiences.
“This decision will make it very difficult for the ABC to meet its charter requirements and audience expectations,” Guthrie said.
The cut comes on top of the government’s decision not to continue a further $43m targeted grant to support news gathering and after cuts of the magnitude of $254m since 2014.
The budget papers say the freeze is being imposed to ensure the ABC continues to find back-office efficiencies.
Guthrie said the ABC could not absorb the cuts with extra efficiency measures as the government proposed, rejecting the government's proposed efficiency review as unnecessary.
While the ABC will be forced to make savings, SBS has been given an additional $14.6m over two years.
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