ABC Friends hosts action to protect the broadcaster

Friday on my mind: Mid North Coast ABC Friends will host a protect action outside federal MP Luke Hartsuyker's office on Friday July 13.

Friday on my mind: Mid North Coast ABC Friends will host a protect action outside federal MP Luke Hartsuyker's office on Friday July 13.

The ABC is either in a fight for survival and needs your support or it ought to be able to manage a bit of belt-tightening.

That's the opposing views as the Mid North Coast ABC Friends plan a 'protect action' event on Friday outside federal MP Luke Hartsuyker's Port Macquarie office.

Friends' president Drusi Megget says the ABC 'unites us as a nation through stories of who we are and provides news that is truthfully reported with fairness and balance'.

“Since 2013, Coalition governments have axed $400 million from ABC funding, resulting in 1000 job losses," Ms Megget said.

"The ABC now costs taxpayers just 4 cents a day, making it one of the most affordable public broadcasters in the world.  

"It can’t take these further cuts in the May budget.

“Any move to damage the ABC punishes Australian audiences who trust and value the ABC. People like having a mixed public and private media model, just as many still do with health insurance,” she said.

Any move to damage the ABC punishes Australian audiences who trust and value the ABC.

Drusi Megget

But Mr Hartsuyker, while supportive of the ABC, says all government departments have been required to operate with increasing efficiency through annual belt tightening in place since 1987 and peaking in 2012 at 4 percent under Julia Gillard.

"The ABC has always been exempt from that efficiency dividend," the federal MP said.

"The freeze it now faces is about equivalent to the level of that dividend over recent years.

"The ABC ought to be able to manage a bit of belt-tightening in the same way as every other taxpayer owned organisation has had to for 30 years."

Mr Hartsuyker described the ABC as 'being part of the fabric of Australia for over 80 years and is an especially important source of news and entertainment for regional and rural communities'.

"The recent commitment to ongoing public ownership from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack was unequivocal," he added.

Ms Megget said the ABC complements the media market as the most trusted news source and provider of Australian stories.  

"In this era of fake news, ABC content is factual and accessible," she said.

In addition to funding cuts, Ms Megget said the ABC is currently facing two parliamentary enquiries with the potential to further damage the broadcaster, and in June the Federal Council of the Liberal Party voted to sell off the ABC.

The hour-long 'protect action' is on Friday July 13, from 10am outside Luke Hartsuyker's Gordon Street office.

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