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SBS cannot be privatised: Michael Ebeid explains

"people who talk about privatising SBS really have no idea what SBS does"

SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid was recently asked if SBS should be privatised to save taxpayers footing the bill.

Answering the question, Mr Ebeid said, "I think people who talk about privatising SBS really have no idea what SBS does.

"It would be impossible to privatise SBS because of its Charter.

"When you think about the role that we play in, for example, providing In-Language Australian news and current affairs on our radio programs — that is something you could never privatise and never make money on. That is why it is government supported.

"They are services that are helping migrants understand Australia, understand Australian culture and Australian values.

"That is not something that could be commercialised.

"The same with a lot of our other services, whether it be television.

"A lot of the programming that we do is not necessarily commercially attractive.

"The final point I would make is you would then be creating a fourth commercial network, which I think channels Seven, Nine and Ten, given the current state of the market, would have a serious problem with, and I do not think it would be really feasible."

Mr Ebeid was answering a question put to him by One Nation’s leader Senator Pauline Hanson at Senate Estimates on 24 May. A spokesperson for the party’s communications spokesperson Senator Brian Burston told Save Our SBS that One Nation’s policy is that SBS should be privatised.

About two-thirds of SBS’s total revenue is tax payer funded. The remainder is generated by SBS, mainly from advertising. The cost each year to the taxpayer is approximately $280m.

 

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