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Labor moves to protect ABC funding after $526m cut under Coalition

The Albanese government is reviewing ways to protect the financial stability of the ABC after the public broadcaster lost $526m in funding under the Coalition.

The communications minister, Michelle Rowland, told Guardian Australia that on top of a new five-year funding cycle work was under way on a review of funding certainty.

A public consultation in the new year will examine how more stability can be given to the national broadcasters to “safeguard against funding cuts and political interference”.

“The ABC must be funded to a level that ensures it can fulfil its charter to provide high-quality, accessible, and diverse programming,” Rowland will say in a speech to the Victorian Friends of the ABC on Tuesday evening.

“And deliver public-interest journalism that holds people in positions of power to account, exposes corruption, injustice, and counters dangerous mis and disinformation campaigns.”

Rowland said her department will hold a targeted public consultation next year but there are a number of issues that will not be canvassed, including efficiency, the charters of the ABC and SBS and any merger of the two broadcasters.

Labor has already reinstated $83.7m in funding cuts and committed to extending the three-year cycle to five years in an attempt to take funding beyond the election cycle.

The ABC said the reversal of the cuts in the recent budget means a greater capacity to deliver emergency broadcasting services, more investment in ABC Education and enhanced digital services for the organisation’s websites, podcasts and streaming platform ABC iview.

“We welcome the ABC’s plan to invest this returned funding into local content, educational services and emergency broadcasting,” Rowland will say.

“Both national broadcasters support diverse ecosystems, including across education, screen production and international broadcasting, and greater certainty supports stability in these areas as well.” The Guardian

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