ABC wants permanent news gathering funding

·1-min read

The ABC has appealed to the coalition government for special funding tied to local and outer-suburban news to be made permanent.

The enhanced news-gathering initiative is set to run out next financial year after $14.8 million has been allocated to the program.

Last month's budget forecast an end to the indexation freeze, which has ripped $84 million from the ABC's coffers.

But if the scheme, which started under the Rudd government is 2013, is scrapped the national broadcast still faces a funding shortfall of more than $10 million in 2022/23.

ABC managing director David Anderson said the money supported about 70 jobs and ensured local stories were elevated to a national level.

"We'll be advocating for that to be extended and certainly rolled into our base," he told a Senate hearing in Canberra on Monday.

"As it's been there for nine years, it provides for good work and we want to see it continue. Otherwise, it's a problem for the ABC."

The Morrison government indicated after the budget that no decision had been made on the indexation freeze or other future ABC funding.

Mr Anderson said embedding reporters in outer suburban areas was a key part of the news-gathering program.

He warned scrapping it would be counterproductive to local stories.

"$14.8 million doesn't just disappear without some impact to employment and services of some degree," Mr Anderson said.

"It's a whole-of-ABC problem if it didn't (continue). But I am looking forward with positivity that it will be renewed and continue to do the good work we do."