News » Statement on ABC Answers to Questions from Senator Hanson-Young


Today, our CEO, Matthew Deaner made a statement on ABC’s data released on Friday under questioning from Senator Hanson-Young.

“Late Friday, in answering questions submitted by Senator Hanson-Young, the ABC released data for the past four financial years as they relate to budgets, expenditure and programming hours. Save for a modest increase in the budget for documentaries and narrative comedy, this data reflects a decline in all areas over these years.” Mr Deaner said.

“Comparing 12/13 to 15/16, the ABC’s total content budget is down nearly 9 per cent, the children and drama budgets are down almost 20 per cent. These shrinking budgets inform reductions in hours produced by the ABC over the four years for drama and children’s by approximately 20 per cent, documentaries by 35 per cent and narrative comedy by an alarming 55 per cent. Most concerning is the significant fall in hours for factual production, down 85 per cent.”

“These sobering numbers show the Government’s cuts to the ABC are having an effect on the ABC and in turn, the independent production sector. The 2014 budget continues to bite. We see a peak in production, expenditure and hours in 13/14 and a steep decline following. The Government must recommit funding to the ABC.”

“These figures also support the arguments and recommendations made by Kim Dalton earlier in the year. In his essay, Mr Dalton makes a series of recommendations, including a greater commitment from the Government to the ABC and from the ABC to local content and the independent production sector through independent and regional quotas, regulated terms of trade and higher levels of transparency and accountability.

“It is a source of continuing frustration that it is up to the Senate to obtain these figures from the ABC. These same figures are supplied by the commercial television broadcasters to, and reported by, the ACMA under their licence conditions.”

View the Content Budget.

View the Expenditure and Hours.

SPA Statement on Kim Dalton’s Essay

Download the release.

James Cheatley:
0419 482 680

ABC - yes, the TV output is shrinking, and here is the proof
David Tiley, Screen Hub, 10 July 2017

Local content on the slide at ABC
Stephen Brook, The Australian, 11 July 2017

Budgets and programming hours trend down at the ABC
Jackie Keast, Inside Film, 11 July 2017

Australian drama, comedy in decline on ABC TV: What the figures reveal
Karl Quinn, The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 July 2017

ABC Oz warns against kids quota cuts
C21, 11 July 2017

Screen Producers details poor decisions that have stripped $400m from sector
Mediaweek, 11 July 2017