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Labor will reverse Coalition’s cuts to ABC if elected, says Shorten

Labor will reverse Coalition’s cuts to ABC if elected, says Shorten

Labor will move to reverse the latest cuts to the ABC’s funding if it wins government at the next federal election, as the public broadcaster shapes up as the latest battleground between the two major parties.

After Mitch Fifield made his sixth complaint about ABC coverage in as many months, Labor stepped up its advocacy on behalf of the public broadcaster, with Bill Shorten vowing to challenge the government’s funding cuts.

Last month’s budget included an $84 million cut to the ABC’s forward funding, with money to be redirected within different portfolios, including communications and the arts, which is spending $24m on a memorial to Captain Cook in Scott Morrison’s electorate.

Before a solo appearance on ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night, Shorten announced Labor would reverse the latest funding cut as well as “guarantee funding certainty over the next ABC budget cycle”.

“This will ensure our public broadcaster can meet its charter requirements, safeguard jobs at the ABC, adapt to the digital media environment and maintain content and services that Australians trust and rely on,” he said in a statement.

The government, which gave $30m to Foxtel in the 2017-18 budget, said the funding cuts were about the broadcaster “living within its means”.