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Up to 200 jobs to be cut in ABC shake-up

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The ABC will cut up to a fifth of its management and plough the savings into a $50 million fund to produce new content under a massive shake-up of the national broadcaster.

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ABC TV and ABC News will also reduce production and support roles, with a total of between 150 and 200 staff expected to leave the taxpayer-funded media group by the end of June.

Addressing ABC employees today, managing director Michelle Guthrie said her goal was for “a leaner, less cumbersome management structure that minimises costs, provides a more effective, streamlined service in support areas and facilitates quicker decision-making”.

Savings will go towards the creation of a $50 million content fund to support new creative content, with investment in regional Australia an initial priority.

“We need big ideas, fresh thinking and a willingness to take risks,” Guthrie said.

“The Fund enables us to respond with flexibility and speed to shifting audience trends and to extend our reach and engagement, especially with audiences who are infrequent ABC users.

“Regional investment will be a priority. We’re committing to an injection of funds, ultimately building to $15 million a year, to provide more reporters and content makers, better tools and increased video and digital output.

“The ABC will recruit up to 80 new content roles in regional areas within 18 months.”

Guthrie said the ABC had to adapt to changes in the media sector, including the challenges of new competitors and shifting audience trends.

She said the initiatives were essential to the long-term health of the corporation, “but I acknowledge that this is little comfort to those whose roles are impacted”.

“We will work with unions and with affected staff. We will be open and move as quickly as possible to end the uncertainty in affected areas.”

The number of main ABC divisions will be reduced from 14 to eight, with the four content divisions (Television, Radio, News and Regional) to be balanced by “new streamlined support functions” for Finance, Technology, Engagement and Audiences.

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