New ABC managing director Mark Scott fired off a press release last week promising “a comprehensive Energy Audit would be undertaken across the entire Corporation in every State and Territory”.

The former Liberal Party staffer and senior Fairfax executive clearly reckons he can be transparent, green and save the taxpayer a few bucks along the way.

The audit will supposedly “show where and how the ABC is using energy and where areas of wastage may be occurring, and then provide recommendations for where and how reductions could be made”.

Crikey’s friends at the Millionaire Factory might be a bit nervous about all this because the ABC’s single largest source of greenhouse gases is the transmission of TV and radio broadcast services around the country. Transmission for the ABC and SBS is outsourced to Broadcast Australia, which is 100% owned by ASX-listed Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group.

Broadcast Australia’s annual energy bill for analogue and digital transmission services from the tower to the home comes in at a whopping $15 million, which equates to 1500 tons of carbon emissions. If the ABC wants to cut greenhouse gases, it should immediately cancel the analogue services and switch to digital transmission only.

Broadcast Australia charges the ABC and SBS approximately $200 million a year for transmission services, which equates to 3c a day for every Australian citizen.

No wonder MCIG shares have soared from a 2002 float price of $2 to yesterday’s close of $6.19. And that’s after more than $100 million in fees have been ripped out from the formerly government-owned assets by the Millionaire Factory.

Peter Fray

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