Budget 2024: What Jim Chalmers delivered for media industry

federal government budget

What’s in the budget for ABC, SBS, ACMA, and AAP.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivered his 2024 federal budget last night, predicting a $9.3 billion surplus for the 2023/24 financial year.

Largely, the budget remained steady for Australia’s media sector.

National broadcasters ABC and SBS are set to receive a combined $1.7 billion for the 2024/25 financial year, with $1.196 billion going to the ABC – up from $1.137 billion last financial year – and $348 million going to SBS, up from $334 million. The remaining gap will be used on transmission and distribution technology. 

The ABC’s staffing levels will stay at 4,313 staff – remaining steady. SBS staff numbers will lift slightly from 1,352 people to 1,369.

The ABC is budgeting for an “operating deficit” of $1.9 million in 2024/25. SBS’ operating result for the same period is projected to be a $1.1 million surplus. 

With the global success of Bluey, the budget includes $14.5 million to support the production of Australian children’s screen content, with the government saying it recognises “the importance of Australian children seeing themselves reflected in the stories they watch, no matter which platform they watch it on.”

Despite a lift in staff from 608 to 654, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been allotted $181 million, down from $194 million last financial year. Of that, $12.4 million over four years will be used to improve existing scam call and SMS codes for telcos, and boost enforcement action to detect and prevent scams. 

$22.6 million over five years from 2024–25 has been allotted to support the modernisation of media regulation in Australia, including the implementation of a prominence framework for internet-connected television devices and an expanded anti-siphoning scheme.

$12 million has been allocated to support the financial sustainability of the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

The government has also put aside $9.3 million to “expand and enhance” the National Film and Sound Archive’s capacity to store highly flammable nitrate-based cultural heritage material belonging to national collecting institutions. These historically significant films and photographic negatives are currently at risk of being lost. 

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance has welcomed the Budget, with MEAA Chief Executive Erin Madeley saying “This funding is a much-needed investment in the next generation of performers and screen professionals.”

“But this must be followed up with additional funding support quality jobs on graduation with secure employment, good pay and conditions and safe and inclusive workplaces,” she added.

“A viable creative sector cannot exist if the workforce does not have quality jobs that provide a sustainable career in the arts and entertainment.”

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