ABC Friends Blue Mountains member, Susan Lamont, has sent the following letter to all federal Nationals, 15 MPs and 6 Senators:
Re: Funding Cuts to the ABC and SBS
I write to you as a member of the federal Nationals about my genuine concerns relating to the very substantial funding cuts that have been made to the ABC and SBS, and my concerns that the federal Liberal/National Coalition government may be planning more such cuts in the upcoming 2015 federal budget.
I am not currently a member of any political party, nor have I ever been a member of any political party. I write as average Australian citizen who is greatly concerned about the current financial attacks to our respected national broadcaster, the ABC, and cuts to SBS and what these cuts are translating into in terms of the scope and quality of programming that is now possible with such cuts.
I take a keen interest in both federal and state politics. I must say that I am surprised and very disappointed that the Nationals have not been more vocal in opposing the large cuts that have already been announced, particularly in relation to the ABC. Considering that the Nationals profess to be ‘the party for regional Australia’ I would have thought that opposing substantial cuts to ABC funding would (should) be a major activity for the Nationals. The loss of ABC jobs in regional areas should also be of significant concern to the Nationals.
I currently live on the western outskirts of Sydney, however in the past I have lived for many years in different parts of rural NSW. As much as I am distressed about the funding cuts in the context of where I live currently, one of the last things I would have wanted (or expected) a federal government to do when I was living in rural NSW would have been to very significantly cut funding to the ABC, with the obvious resultant negative impact on the quality and quantity of public radio and television broadcasting. It is just ludicrous to think that such enormous funding cuts will only affect ‘back room operations’. As if ‘back room operations’ are somehow not related to the quality and/or quantity of the finished product that the ABC listener or viewer will hear or see!!
The ABC in rural, regional and particularly remote areas of the country is an essential life line to the local area, the rest of Australia, indeed the world. This life line should provide local, national and international news as well as essential information in times of emergencies such as during times of fire or flood. However the ABC should have a much greater role. It should be funded adequately to provide, via radio, television and on-line technologies, a diversity of programs that include but are not limited to comprehensive, independent background information and analysis of current Australian and world affairs and quality entertainment that reflects the best that Australian culture in all its diversity can provide.
I do agree that Australia needs to address the current deficit in the federal budget however a deficit reduction should not be an end in itself, as it appears to me that the Liberal/National coalition government believes. Deficit reduction, in a modern, multicultural and comparatively wealthy nation such as Australia should not come at the cost of destroying our fine national broadcaster the ABC and our unique Special Broadcasting Service, SBS. Australian life and all Australians will be substantially diminished as a result.
Ms Susan Lamont