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ABC wants extra $5M for "new normal" bushfire coverage - why not drop "Trough Man" and other rubbish

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The ABC managing director has asked the federal government for an extra $5 million a year to respond to the “new normal” of bushfire coverage, but has admitted it would include the cost of normal reporting done by other media outlets.

ABC managing director David Anderson also told the Senate Estimates Communications Committee on Tuesday the broadcaster will consider selling buildings within its property portfolio as a means of saving money and will make a decision on how a budget freeze will affect staff numbers by this month.

Mr Anderson said ABC has asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison for another $5 million per annum to cope with bushfire and emergency related reporting, claiming that this year bushfire coverage cost the ABC an extra $3m.

“We estimate it’s going to cost $5 million per annum if this is going to be the new normal … we need to bolster our resources in future to meet the challenge. We estimate that’s going to be $5 million on average for us,” Mr Anderson told the committee.

However, asked whether the $3 million cost, and the $5 million in additional funds required, included the costs of disaster reporting done by other networks Mr Anderson admitted funds were used also used for normal reporting and not emergency broadcast.

“That’s all up including the reporting. Around the Christmas period we had to be more local than ever and have rolling coverage … and when it comes to reporting deploying people out of our state and territory newsrooms everyday we needed extra resources,” Mr Anderson said.

Mr Anderson was asked whether that cost included the cost of reporting, the type of which was also done by other media organisations.

“Just to be clear part of that was reporting that many other stations were doing as well as the life saving announcement part of it,” asked Liberal senator David Van.

“Yes”, Mr Anderson replied.

Mr Anderson revealed he had written to Communications Minister Paul Fletcher in late January asking that the government reconsider its pause on indexation of funding to the ABC which receives over $1 billion in taxpayer funds a year. He said the freeze is going to cost $84m over the three year period.

Mr Anderson said that he would be making an announcement to staff in March on the possibility of budget cuts and possible redundancies at the ABC, however ruled out cuts to regional coverage.

“There will be an effect on our content as well as our staff.

“I have indicated that in March, this month, I will be coming back to staff both in regard to a five year plan … and how we intend to meet those challenges,” he said.

Mr Fletcher this week wrote to Mr Anderson suggesting the broadcaster sell some of its building assets, including its headquarters in Sydney’s Ultimo and Melbourne’s Southbank.

The ABC boss told the committee he was considering the proposal, as the ABC had sold-off parts of its building portfolio in the past, and was discussing further sales with the government.

“We have talked about the fact we are reviewing our property portfolio . . and reviewing where we are around the country.

“We are looking at many options in regards to where we are located … I’ve had a couple of discussions with the Minister about our property portfolio.”

However Mr Anderson said selling property would not solve the ABC’s funding shortfall.

“We have constantly reviewed our property portfolio but that does not mean we don’t look at it prospectively.

“It has been put to me, can we acquit our budget shortfalls by selling our properties … that only deals with a one-off sale not an ongoing efficiency you need to find.”


It's hard for their ABC to justify extra money to report real news of interest to the whole community when it spends its existing money on crap like this:

ABC News 'If Sydney had a was Trough Man", as in gentlemen's lavatory prostrating man.

It's way past time to put the axe to the ABC.

This was part of the ABC News on Budget Tuesday.

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If Sydney ever had a superhero, maybe it was Trough Man.

This character would lie down in the male urinals at dance parties in the 1980s and enjoy a long golden shower.

"In the old days at the showground parties, you'd go into the toilets and someone would always twist off the neon lights, you'd get there and it would be really dark,"

"You'd just hear sounds, you'd get to the urinal, and there'd be this body in front of you rolling around, wanting you to pxxx (my censorship there not the ABC's) on him.

"He was kind of nameless and a little bit mysterious … he never said a word."


Read it if you must here.

Do we really need a taxpayer funded news organisations if it's going to run stories like this?