Some ABC staff feel like the national broadcaster is facing death by a thousand cuts.
On Wednesday, management announced more staff were walking out the door. Eleven people – including a senior 7.30 journalist – have put up their hand for voluntary redundancy.
It is understood this round of redundancies aren't related to budget cuts and will allow more digital staff to be hired. It's no secret the ABC's news director, Gaven Morris, wants the broadcaster's websites to leapfrog News.com.au as the country's most popular online news source.
An ABC spokeswoman said staff were given the opportunity to put up their hand in October.
"All expressions of preference were considered, and these 11 roles were identified as ones that could be removed from the structure," she said. "Redeployment is not relevant as these employees expressed an interest in leaving."
The redundancies come one month after the ABC announced the axing of evening news program Lateline. The broadcaster's current affairs lineup will get a makeover in 2018, with more resources poured into 7.30 and specialist journalists being hired to help break major stories.
One ABC employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said it was worrying to see so many senior staff members leave the company in recent years.
"Who is going to fill their shoes?" the employee asked. "TV and radio is a shrinking career path for people – the focus will be more and more on digital. The people being hired for digital are on lower salaries."
While young digital producers would be paid lower salaries than more experienced staff, it is understood the ABC has hired a few senior employees to bolster its digital coverage in recent months – including from Fairfax Media, the publisher of this news site.
Staff fear Guthrie will once again swing the axe in the coming weeks as part of the broadcaster's digital transformation.
"Morale is very shaky and people are worried there will be more cuts," the employee said. "Are we supposed to be the most dominant news service in Australia, or offering specialist content, regional content as well as mainstream news?"
However, other journalists and producers – particularly those in regional and rural bureaus – are optimistic for the future. In March, Guthrie announced she was pouring $15 million into the broadcaster's regional operations and hiring additional reporters to tell stories from outside Australia's capital cities.