The ABC’s closure of its TV production unit in Tasmania with a loss of 17 jobs could represent a breach of the public broadcaster’s charter, the Community and Public Sector Union said.

Management’s decision to axe TV production, which was made without consulting staff, is a retreat from local programming and bad news for the state, the CPSU’s Regional Director of Tasmania Paul Blake said.

“The ABC has been beating a retreat from local programming for some time now but this decision demonstrates its lack of commitment to Tasmania, our stories and our voice.”

“The ABC is in breach of its charter and it’s not just us saying it, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy seems to think so too. Management has rushed into making this decision before the triennial funding package is announced next year. Why not wait until it could have been saved.”

The ABC Charter states: “To provide broadcasting programs that contribute to a sense of national identity and inform and entertain, and reflect the cultural diversity of, the Australian community.”

Mr Blake said the decision showed that the ABC was far from transparent in its dealings with the community and cited a recent Parliamentary hearing last month in which it was asked about its commitment to Tasmania.

“Only last month the ABC’s managing director Mark Scott was asked by Senators of his plans around TV production in Tasmania and all he could say was that ‘No decision has been made around a change in Tasmania at this point’. It’s clear from today’s announcement that the ABC says one thing to one audience and something entirely different to another.”

The CPSU is now calling upon the ABC to reconsider its decision which will have a major impact on local families as well as the arts on the island.

The ABC’s production unit used to make Gardening Australia in its studios and the now-defunct arts program The Collectors. More recently it had been producing an interim program The Auction Room. The 17 jobs in TV production represents close to a fifth of the Corporation’s total workforce in Tasmania.

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