Canberra Report: Regional towns depend on ABC

Last week in Parliament I took the opportunity to highlight the important service the ABC provides to regional areas like the Hunter and the contribution it makes to our nation's identity.

In light of an unfair $83.7 million cut to the public broadcaster by the Turnbull government I voiced my concerns about the negative impact an under resourced public broadcaster would have particularly on regional areas like the Hunter.

Labor believes the ABC is one of our most important institutions and part of the fabric of our nation.

It adds to media diversity and Australian content and plays a vital role in regional and remote communities, providing news and emergency information.

Regional towns around the country still depend on the ABC for their local news.

In times of fire and flood, the ABC provides crucial services to rural and regional Australia including critical warning messages to the community.

The ABC's emergency coverage in the Hunter was relied upon during the devastating 2016 April super storm and each scorching summer when bushfires threaten our local communities.

Since 2014, ABC funding has been cut by $366 million and 800 staff have lost their jobs.

This is despite the Liberals' and Nationals' 2013 election promise of no cuts to our ABC or to SBS. This year alone, the government has cut $83.7 million from the ABC. They've launched two damaging public broadcasting inquiries and have three bills before the Parliament which meddle with the ABC charter.

Australians have grown up with the ABC, watching Play School, Bananas in Pyjamas and ABC Kids. ABC's Triple J Hack program engages our youth in news and current affairs relevant to their lives and communities.

For the past 20 years, the annual Heywire Regional Youth Summit has put Australians at the centre of the conversations that shape their communities.Landline reporters around the country bring us up to date with the issues affecting rural and regional Australia-in particular, our agricultural sector.

17 million of us still consume some form of ABC content every week.

It's an issue that's important to people in my local community, communities right throughout the Hunter and right throughout the nation.

It's why I think it's important to speak up before it's too late and to send a clear message of support to our public broadcaster.

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