Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Emergency Broadcasting

5 February 2020

Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (16:26): Before asking that the motion be taken as formal, I wish to inform the chamber that Senator Kitching will sponsor the motion. I, and also on behalf of Senators Hanson-Young and Kitching, move:

That the Senate—

(a) thanks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for its service in delivering vital emergency broadcasts and comprehensive coverage during the catastrophic fires;

(b) acknowledges the dramatic rise in emergency broadcasts - from 256 in

2017-18, to 371 in 2018-19 and close to 900 during this financial year, which have been delivered without additional funding to cover the resources which have been poured into the emergency broadcast effort;

(c) recognises that, since Boxing Day, as bushfires raged across Victoria (VIC), New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia, the ABC handled more than

100 emergency broadcasts in a single week, receiving widespread praise for the practical, life-saving information and the professionalism on display;

(d) notes heavy damage sustained to the ABC's radio and TV networks during the bushfires, particularly at Bateman's Bay in NSW and East Gippsland in VIC;

(e) commends the ABC for mobilising with the assistance of the ADF, Broadcast Australia and Commercial Broadcasters to restore local radio stations as the priority because of their critical role in providing information to communities during disasters;

(f) acknowledges the ABC's funding is decreasing at a time when emergency broadcasting events is increasing; and

(g) calls on the Federal Government to reverse the $83 million paused indexation funding, as a matter of urgency.

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