I rise today to express my outrage that news of job losses and program cuts at the ABC as a result of the Abbott government's funding cuts. The ABC is set to lose up to 10 per cent of its workforce equalling around 400 jobs. There have been a number of cuts at ABC Canberra including director Liz McGrath along with a producer, who is very well known and very well loved, Trish Barraclough.
I would like to echo the words of ABC newsreader Virginia Haussegger, who has described today as gobsmackingly upsetting for local staff. My thoughts today go out to those families. Of equal concern is the loss of local content that we are sure to see as a result of these cuts. The ABC has confirmed that axing of its state based 7.30 program. This will result in loss of great local journalism and TV, not only here in Canberra but around the country. Five regional radio outposts will also be shut at Nowra, Wagin, Morwell, Gladstone and Port Augusta. These local radio stations are often the lifeline of the towns, allowing residents to connect and share stories where it might otherwise be difficult due to geographical barriers.
Last week I attended a rally outside the ABC's Northbourne studio where around 100 Canberrans showed their disgust at these cuts. Tomorrow I will take part in another rally here on the lawns of Parliament House. I will continue to highlight the Abbott government's broken promises to the Australian public because, quite frankly, they deserve better.