Last month Crikey asked the ABC how many journalists it would have to fire if its $20 million-a-year “enhanced news-gathering” grant, delivered for three years in 2013, was’t renewed in this year’s budget. The ABC wasn’t willing to put a number on it, saying contingency plans for the grant not being renewed were still being worked out. But in an answer to a Senate estimates question on notice, the body said 106 people were employed with the funding in the 2016 financial year.
Of the 106 people, 42 of these are in NSW, 35 in Queensland and 10 in Victoria, with smaller numbers in the other states and territories. More than half the people are employed are outside of Sydney or Melbourne.
“Of these, 11 are new positions for journalists and video crews in Bunbury, Renmark, Newcastle, Wollongong, Broome, Alice Springs, Geelong, Ipswich and Gosford.
“Eight positions support live video linking capacity around the country which is often used to bring regional stories to state capitals, and supports regional coverage of stories such as natural disasters.
“Another 41 positions, based in state capitals, produce regional and state-based reporting and state-based news specials. This includes 13 digital positions based in Brisbane dedicated to sub-editing and producing regional content for ABC News Digital.
“The monies also support seven members of the National Reporting Team based outside of Sydney.
“Of the remaining 46 positions, 36 are based in Sydney working primarily for the National Reporting Team and ABC Fact Check; as well as Four Corners, Foreign Correspondent, Australian Story and NewsRadio programming extensions; three are based in the Western Sydney bureau at Parramatta and seven are in the Interactive Digital Story Telling Team located in Brisbane.”