The ABC has announced its intention to relocate about 300 employees from its central Sydney headquarters to new facilities in Parramatta, in the city’s west.
In an email sent to staff this morning, ABC managing director David Anderson said the migration was part of its five-year plan to see 75 per cent of content makers work outside the broadcaster’s office in Ultimo by 2025.
“Parramatta is at the geographic heart of Sydney,” the ABC said in a statement.
“Increasing the ABC’s workforce based in Western Sydney will provide it with greater visibility and connection to a growing community which is home to one in 11 Australians.
“It will be easier to engage with more parts of Sydney than is presently the case with the Ultimo headquarters.”
The ABC has already expanded its Western Sydney newsroom, at Parramatta, with up to 10 journalists and producers, including specialist local communities reporters.
The ABC’s director of news, analysis and investigations Gaven Morris described the move as an “exciting future step”.
“The expansion of our Western Sydney reporting team over the past 18 months has shown how we can deepen engagement with local communities, and we’re determined to build on that success,” he said.
All teams currently based at Ultimo are being considered for the move and the broadcaster said it would begin consulting with staff and unions after this morning’s announcement.
The public broadcaster estimated about 200 staff from content divisions including its news, regional and local, entertainment and specialist divisions were being considered for the move.
The remainder will be from its support teams.
The first step in the relocation will be a tender process for a property expert — known as a “request for proposal” or “RFP” — who will work with the ABC to identify suitable facilities in Parramatta to support a new base of operations.
The ABC flagged the new offices would need to support radio and television studios, as well as a public space for community engagement.
It said it had no plans to decommission any production facilities in Ultimo, but would consider options to utilise vacant space in the Sydney headquarters which included leasing it to tenants.
“This initiative is the start not the end of the ABC’s plans to locate more content-makers closer to the communities they serve,” the ABC said.
“Over the next few months, the ABC will continue to consider a range of options in respect to its property holdings, operations, and production in other state capitals and in regional Australia.”
The ABC estimates the move to the new premises in Western Sydney will be complete by 2024.