The ABC expects to cut 250 staff across news, entertainment and regional divisions to meet a $41m annual budget shortfall.

The managing director, David Anderson, has told staff the cuts are unavoidable because the government booked a saving of $84m over the current triennium, or $41m per annum to the end of the 2022 financial year.

The ABC has lost $783m in funding since the Coalition came to power in 2014, including the $84m cut in 2018.

“The budget challenge presented to us by the indexation pause remains and we will also need to finalise savings initiatives to meet this challenge,” Anderson said.

“The budget gap of $41m per annum means that, despite our best efforts, some of our services will be affected and, regrettably, there will be redundancies. We will provide more information about these changes when we share the five-year plan.”

Anderson thanked staff for what he said had been a difficult start to the year and asked for expressions of interest for redundancy.

“This has been an arduous year already for all of us and I’m conscious of how many of you must be feeling right now given the uncertainty across our industry and the broader economy,” he said. 

“The work of all of you throughout the challenges we have faced together this year has been outstanding and your patience and professionalism are, as always, greatly appreciated.”

Anderson said employees in divisions with more than 10 redundancies could ask for voluntary redundancy, although there were no guarantees.

The Community and Public Sector Union has lobbied the ABC to allow voluntary redundancies in this round, as they have not been offered since 2017. The new enterprise agreement states that where there are 10 or more redundancies, the ABC must call for expressions of interest.

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Sources say the 250 job losses will come from content divisions including news, entertainment and specialist and regional.

The ABC has repeatedly asked the government to reverse the budget cuts but it has refused, despite bushfire emergency broadcasting adding an additional $3m in cost to the broadcaster this year alone.

Research released by the ABC last week, and submitted to the bushfire royal commission, showed that 81% of people were aware of the ABC as an information source and one in two used it as their main source of information during the summer crisis.

The ABC board met last week to discuss its response to calls by the Morrison government to embark on a six-month wage freeze to bring it in line with other taxpayer-funded agencies during the Covid-19 crisis.

Guardian Australia understands the board is split on whether to put it to a staff vote or not. Under the enterprise agreement, management cannot freeze pay rises.



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