FARRER MP Sussan Ley has reacted to concern over ABC cuts by saying it is probably the only media organisation in Australia with funding increasing.
The Environment Minister was commenting following public dismay at ABC changes announced on Wednesday, including the end of its 7.45am radio news bulletin.
"As the Prime Minister noted today, the ABC actually has increased funding through the current federal budget cycle, and it's probably the only media organisation in Australia today whose funding is going up," Ms Ley said on Thursday.
"The way most of us are accessing media these days has led to reduced funding or profits and major shifts in content and delivery for all of our more traditional media outlets.
"The ABC is no different and I think has taken a very thorough look at how it also needs to adapt to this new media landscape."
Budget base funding for the ABC this financial year is $1.048 billion and then $1.051 billion in 2020-21 and $1.056 billion in 2021-22.
However, a move by the government in 2018 to not tie the ABC's annual budget to inflation has seen a decrease in the expected funding.
ABC managing director David Anderson said that equated to $84m over three years and an ongoing reduction of $41m a year from 2022.
But Ms Ley suggested, based on Mr Anderson's comments in relation to sourcing more material from outside capital cities, "we may even see a boost in coverage on regional issues which I would absolutely applaud".
Ms Ley's federal government colleague, Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie is upset at the axing of the 7.45am news.
She did not speak formally to The Border Mail about it, but told ABC radio announcers in Ballarat and Wodonga of her frustration on Thursday.
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"I'd like to understand what other options were on the table," Senator McKenzie said.
"Did they actually consider any of their city-centric vanity projects whilst they chose to actually reduce our local news out of rural and regional Australia?"
Senator McKenzie flagged if her bill in the Senate to have an ABC rural advisory council was operational then the 7.45am news decision may have been different.
Indigo Council mayor Jenny O'Connor hopes the ABC may rethink its decision to end the 7.45am news.
"It's part of the Australian psyche hearing that music and listening into the national news bulletin for 15 minutes," Cr O'Connor said.
"They should show respect for tradition, ritual and routine that really matter in a time that's as disrupted as we have now.
"It's our public broadcaster it's not there for private purposes it's based on providing a service that's required and to take away it's flagship bulletin is an extreme thing do."
Indi MP Helen Haines said she was "deeply concerned" over funding cuts and had received "numerous contacts" from voters upset at the loss of the 7.45am news.
However, past Nationals Indi runner Marty Corboy, who now operates a Wagga takeaway, slammed the ABC.
"The majority of people I speak to every day don't listen to it and it's a bunch of left-wing claptrap," he said.