The ABC has asked staff to volunteer for redundancies as it prepares to axe more than 200 positions to meet the federal government’s $84 million budget cut.
In an email to all staff today, managing director David Anderson confirmed he will outline the national broadcaster’s five-year strategy by the end of the month, along with its response to the looming funding shortfall.
“The budget challenge presented to us by the indexation pause remains and we will also need to finalise savings initiatives to meet this challenge,” he said in the email.
“The budget gap of $41 million per annum means that despite our best efforts some of our services will be affected and, regrettably, there will be redundancies”.
It is unclear exactly how many of the ABC’s 4650 staff will go, but Mr Anderson said employees in some divisions will be able to volunteer for redundancies from today, through an expression of interest process.
“As we finalise those change proposals, we have decided to provide employees in divisions where it is anticipated that more than 10 redundancies will be required with an opportunity to express an interest in redundancy,” he said.
News director Gaven Morris, who is responsible for news, analysis and investigations, said the EOI process was non-binding but sent staff a redundancy calculator to help inform their decisions.
“You won’t be held to it, it’s simply providing us with information we can take into account,” he said in an email.
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the effective $84 million cut in 2018, freezing the ABC’s budget for three years, effective from July 2019.
Mr Anderson had been due to address the looming shortfall in March but the COVID-19 crisis postponed his plans.
In his email, he thanked staff for their work in what has been a particularly difficult year.
“This has been an arduous year already for all of us and I’m conscious of how many of you must be feeling right now given the uncertainty across our industry and the broader economy,” he said.
“The work of all of you throughout the challenges we have faced together this year has been outstanding and your patience and professionalism are, as always, greatly appreciated.”
The media sector has been hit by a wave of cuts in recent weeks.
Network Ten’s digital offering 10 Daily and BuzzFeed Australia have both been forced to shut their doors, while News Corp announced a fortnight ago that it was axing hundreds of jobs across its regional and metropolitan divisions.