Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie acknowledged protester concern about the government’s policy regarding the ABC and will herself seek assurance from the broadcaster that there’ll be no reduction in regional radio services.
Senator McKenzie has also started a petition in her Bendigo-based electorate office and online for people to sign and send the same message to ABC’s board and management.
“The Nationals are strong supporters of the ABC particularly its local radio and emergency broadcasting services which are so vital to regional communities,” she said.
“The Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull has assured me the government remains committed to maintaining the health and vibrancy of the ABC and the SBS.
“The government also has a responsibility to the taxpayer to repair the budget mess left by Labor costing the taxpayer $1 billion every month. That is why the government is proposing modest efficiency savings across all government-funded agencies including the ABC.
“As a member of the Senate Environment and Communications Committee, I will again during estimates today be seeking assurance from ABC’s managing director Mark Scott, that regional radio and services are not affected.
“I have previously raised concerns with Mr Scott about frequent networking among regions due to staff shortages in regional stations. Mr Scott must guarantee local radio delivers the service regional taxpayers deserve and expect.
“I encourage you to sign the petitions available in my electorate office and online at http://www.bridgetmckenzie.com.au/ which will be sent to the ABC board and management to ensure they hear this message loud and clear.
“The Nationals will closely monitor the government’s proposals in relation to the ABC. While the government cannot dictate programming decisions of the ABC, I will continue to make clear to ABC management that any savings should be made in backroom operations and not cuts to regional programming.”