The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has unveiled plans for major investment in rural and regional journalism.

Key points:

  • The boost is dependent on federal funding remaining steady
  • David Anderson says the injection will allow regional bureaus to increase local coverage across platforms
  • The ABC has closed a deal with Google and negotiations are continuing with Facebook

Managing director David Anderson has revealed that a multi-year agreement that will see its content on Google News Showcase has been finalised.

The ABC is also in negotiations with Facebook and a deal is expected to be reached by the end of November.

Mr Anderson made the announcements at a regional media summit at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, in the New South Wales Central West.

“The ABC has always made clear that we would invest any additional funds generated by these deals into the areas that we believe need it most — that is, our regional services and journalism,” he said.

Mr Anderson says the money will allow regional bureaus to deliver more content.(ABC News: Taryn Southcombe)

More local coverage

The funding injection is expected to create jobs and boost resources in the ABC’s rural and regional bureaus across Australia.

It is not yet known what stations will receive funding or how many positions will be announced.

Mr Anderson says the details on investment and job numbers will be released soon.

“I can’t reveal that yet, nor can I reveal the amount of money that we have to invest,” he said. 

“In the coming weeks we will be announcing where positions will be going and at that point how many jobs are created from this.

“It’s terrific news for rural and regional Australia.”

Mr Anderson told the summit that the ABC would ensure that any additional resources would go to areas where they were needed most.

“The ABC will be able to produce more local radio stories for our regional bureaus, more local stories for local digital news sites, more video and audio on demand,” he said.

The announcement was made at a regional media summit at Bathurst.(ABC Central West: Hugh Hogan)

Federal funding caveat

A series of pilots and experiments are set to be held over the next year to help the ABC identify where and how the funding will be spent in rural and regional areas.

The investment in rural and regional Australia will be made as long as the broadcaster’s ongoing funding from the federal government is maintained.

“[Communications Minister Paul Fletcher] has provided a public undertaking that our budget would not reduce,” Mr Anderson said.

“I’m confident that our budget as it stands at the moment will continue on into the next triennium, with indexation.

Posted , updated