In the South East NSW we KNOW what the ABC did during the fires.
We KNOW they became the only source of news when the electricity was cut for days and the telecommunicatiosn were down.
We all KNOW and REMEMBER vividly sitting in our cars or around a battery radio listening for updates as the fires raged.
We KNOW AND REMEMBER what it was like to be in total information blackness while the skies were filled with falling embers, the air so thick with smoke it ripped at your lungs and the heat so intense it sucked moisture from a stone.
As the winds changed all many of us could do was speculate what might come next, blind to what was coming over the hills other than the threat of fire and the sear of heat. To many it came without warning but to so many in the community there was a warning, enough to prepare or to flee.
And the ABC was there (nearly) every step of the journey doing what they are mandated to do - to be an emergency broadcaster - and they did it well. NOTE that commendations MUST also go to stations 2EC and PowerFM who also played a vital part of broadcasting at an emergency level during the bushfires for many weeks/months with many in the community solely relying on their transmissions. At one point ABC actually lost power to their transmitter and called 2EC and PowerFM to assist in getting them back on air, essentially piggy backing off the 2EC and PowerFM transmitter service.
Now the powers that be say they went over budget. Now the powers that be want to cut funding. 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.
The Beagle recognises the incredible effort and the contribution that ABC South East NSW made during the fires. Hopefully we will hear the opinion of the Liberal and National candidates in the Eden Monaro by-election as to why they believe that funding should be cut to our local ABC broadcaster after being recognised in the Inquiry for the role they played during the fires and the role they continue to play in the recovery process.
The NSW Nationals candidate for Eden-Monaro is Trevor Hicks On his website promotion it states that : Like many in the Eden-Monaro, Trevor has seen first-hand the devastating impact drought, bushfire and now a pandemic has had on the region. But he knows that a strong, local champion who gets things done is needed now more than ever. Running as the ‘jobs candidate’, Trevor’s number one priority is to create more employment opportunities. “It is more urgent to create and support jobs now than at any other time in our history,” Trevor said. “The drought, then those bushfires, and now COVID-19 has knocked us around. Eden-Monaro is in the middle of the storm here, but we can turn it around. We can’t afford to let opportunities go by the wayside. We need to take the initiative and get projects up and running so people can get back to work.” Trevor has been a part of the wider Eden-Monaro community for most of his life and he knows and understands the issues facing people in the region. If that is the case one might wonder what Trevor thinks about 250 ABC job losses expected to come from content divisions including news, entertainment and specialist and REGIONAL that will include Eden Monaro. If Trevor's "number one priority is to create more employment opportunities" why would he support the intention to get rid of 250 ABC jobs, especially in the electorate he hopes to win.
Fiona Kotvojs, the Liberal nominee for Eden-Monaro by-election was one who knows first hand the role that ABC South East NSW played in her community, just to the north of the fire ground of Cobargo. It is that same ABC that she now uses to market her own campaign into homes that are too remote to cold call. Yet it is her party that intends to deconstruct regional ABC services. The hypocracy of her support for her parties intention to defund ABC will be an election issue on the South Coast, still raw after the fires.