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ABC backers cry foul on Budget

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Supporters of the ABC are determined to help kick Scott Morrison’s government out of power at the upcoming federal election after it failed to restore funding cuts from the national broadcaster.

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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s first budget included $4 billion for the nation’s public broadcasters over the next three years.

A hefty $3.2 billion of the money which will go towards the ABC, with SBS to receive the remainder.

But ABC Friends, which advocates for the maintenance and improvement of the broadcaster, says that does not include millions stripped from the ABC in last year’s budget.

The Turnbull government’s 2018/19 budget showed the ABC would miss out on $83.7 million from 2019/20, by pausing indexation of operational funding.

The organisation says the Coalition’s clear “bias” against the ABC has encouraged it to continue raising money to target marginal seats at the election in May.

“We’ll be asking marginal-seat voters to only vote for candidates they can trust with the ABC’s future,” president Margaret Reynolds said.

Labor has vowed to return the $83.7 million to the ABC if it wins the national poll.

“Australians can have a strong and independent ABC, or a Liberal government. They cannot have both,” opposition communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland said.

The latest budget shows ABC’s funding for the coming three years will include $43.7 million to continue enhanced local coverage of news and current affairs, especially in regional areas.

Staffing levels are expected to remain the same at 4180.

– AAP

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