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MYEFO grants partial restoration in SBS funding

The Turnbull government gave $4.1m to SBS today. This one-off Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook equates to the revenue SBS forecast it would have raised in the 2015-16 year if the parliament had not rejected the bill to double primetime advertising. SBS funding was effectively cut by the same amount last July.

Communications Minister Senator Mitch Fifield was influential in this partial restoration of funds but the question is – will the full $53.7m of cuts announced under the Abbott government be returned to SBS.

Save Our SBS welcomes the $4.1m one-off grant but notes it is $24.4m short of the agreed funding cuts exchanged for increased advertising over five years – and – $25.2m short of other cuts applied to SBS also over five years.

SBS believed it would raise $28.5m over five years from increased advertising but Save Our SBS and 62,000 petitioners objected to more ads and the government’s own Efficiency Study found that increased advertising would "risk the amount of Charter related content [and place] a greater pressure on SBS management to consider the trade-off of delivering on commercial expectations, against delivering those functions described in the SBS Charter." 

The failed bill would have increased primetime commercial breaks to the same level as free-to-air commercial television.

SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid was reported today as saying "SBS welcomes the government’s decision to reinstate some of our funding this financial year."

Triennial funding for SBS should fall due in 2016 but with the five year cuts announced a year ago, the future funding cycle for SBS is not clear.


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