The ABC is facing job losses, program cuts and may even have to sell property to save money in the wake of federal budget cuts, the national broadcaster’s boss has warned.
ABC managing director Mark Scott told a Senate Estimates hearing today that a call for voluntary redundancies will be made shortly and that there will be a reduction in foreign correspondents too.
The moves come following a 1% budget reduction in the corporation’s funding, worth $35.5 million, with further cuts expected following the Lewis efficiency review into the ABC and SBS, which is due to be handed to the Government later this year.
Despite receiving $10.6 million in government compensation for cancelling the ABC’s contract to run the international service, Australia Network, Mr Scott said it was likely foreign correspondents would go. He said that while programming remained a priority, issues such as internal production, outside broadcasts and property assets would need to be reviewed.
Even the top-rating children’s cartoon Peppa Pig, which columnist Piers Akerman last year described as pushing “a weird feminist line”, may face the chop.
“Peppa Pig is safe from cuts, particularly from conservatives concerned about her dangerous feminist ideology?” ALP Senator Louise Pratt asked Mr Scott.
“We have contracts to continue to deliver Peppa Pig, but of course the service we provide depends on the funding envelope provided,” he said.
Now at the most watched program on iView with a staggering 2 million downloads a month, Peppa Pig may be more popular with the pre-voting audience than Tony Abbott, but the PM’s National Senate colleague John Williams said he’d never heard of the show.
Mr Scott offered to send him a DVD of the UK-produced show, but was a former pig farmer, Senator Williams declined saying he’d “seen enough of pigs and smelled enough”.
But the ABC boss warned programs may go.
“The easiest levers to pull in budget cuts are programming cuts. You can cut a drama series and save millions of dollars with one decision,” he said.
Mr Scott was also tackled by Government senators over the ABC’s perceived lack of conservative voices.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.