Supposed extra funding for SBS might be little more than an accounting trick, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
The Rudd Government claimed in its recent budget that it was allocating additional funding of $20 million over three years to SBS.
However, in Senate Budget Estimates today it was revealed that the Government could be recouping this much if not more through undisclosed savings from “distribution and transmission efficiencies”.
“This smoke and mirrors tricks from the Rudd Government should not fool Australia’s multicultural communities – Kevin Rudd is simply giving with one hand and taking with the other,” Senator Birmingham said today.
Senator Birmingham is Deputy Chair of the Senate Environment, Communications and the Arts Legislation Committee which has today been questioning SBS management and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy as part of the Senate Estimates process.
“Sadly for SBS and its audience, Minister Conroy has today not only refused to guarantee that overall SBS annual funding would remain the same, but could not even rule out an overall cut as a result of this accounting fiddle.
“SBS advised last year’s 2020 summit that its costs in transmission and distribution are $80 million annually – even a 10 per cent saving from this amount would more than account for the so-called extra funding, leaving SBS with less in net terms.
“Having suggested these savings itself as a means to fund increased local content, it appears that SBS is instead being robbed to help pay for Mr Rudd’s multi-billion dollar debt.”