ABC Friends say regional jobs will be the first to go if funding is not renewed

CALL FOR HELP: ABC Friends national spokesman Ranald Macdonald says the organisation is "dying a death of 1000 cuts" with regional jobs set to be hit hardest.
CALL FOR HELP: ABC Friends national spokesman Ranald Macdonald says the organisation is "dying a death of 1000 cuts" with regional jobs set to be hit hardest.

Regional jobs will go first if funding for the ABC is not renewed in the 2016-2017 budget, according to ABC Friends national spokesman Ranald Macdonald.

Mr Macdonald addressed concerns about funding shortfalls with a crowd of about 100 people at a public forum at The Cube, Wodonga, on Thursday evening. 

“If we don’t get that $25 million … it’s been clearly stated 106 more people will leave the ABC and that will almost all be regional,” he said.  

“As it is, 54 per cent of jobs are in metropolitan areas.”

Wodonga resident John Dunstan said the question of funding commitments was important. 

“Despite some of the political argy-bargy going on, what’s great is everyone’s in favour of seeing our regional ABC improving, because they’ve been cut to the bone,” he said.

Victorian Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie said budget discussions were continuing but the private member’s bill to introduce a rural and regional advisory council would improve representation of areas outside capital cities. 

“The changes I’m suggesting in my bill go to changing the board and the charter so the board assists management to say, hang on, these are our priorities,” she said. 

Indi MP Cathy McGowan also said she was a “great believer” in setting priorities for funding. 

Indi Nationals candidate Marty Corboy said he would like to keep ABC funding at “status quo” while Greens candidate for Farrer Amanda Cohn said she would like to see funding increased.