Jobs to go at ABC as production unit axed

ABC boss Mark Scott has provoked an outcry after axing its Tasmanian television production unit.

The unit was responsible in the past for Gardening Australia and Collectors, and more recently has produced Auction Room.

Mr Scott said neither Auction Room nor Collectors would be re-commissioned. He said the state would shift to an out-sourced production fund, a model used in Western Australia and South Australia.

Describing it as a tough decision, he said there could be 16 redundancies.

"We can't afford the kind of overhead that's required, and the volume of production that's required to make that viable," Mr Scott said.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy called on the ABC to reconsider its decision.

“As the national broadcaster, it is concerning that the ABC continues to centralise its production processes in Sydney and Melbourne," Senator Conroy said.

“I call on the ABC board to ensure that the broadcaster upholds its clear obligations in relation to cultural diversity and local programming."

The Community and Public Sector Union said the closure could represent a breach of the public broadcaster's charter to provide programs that contribute to a sense of national identity, and reflect cultural diversity.

Greens leader Christine Milne said by further centralising its operations, the move would deny rural and regional Australia its stories.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie said it was at odds with the ABC's obligations as a public funded broadcaster.

Mr Scott said the ABC proposed to invest $500,00 a year for three years in a Tasmanian local production fund, and would seek a matching investment from the state government.

"This is similar to initiatives set up by the ABC in both South Australia and Western Australia which have ensured continuity of local production in these state," he said.

This story Jobs to go at ABC as production unit axed first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.