May 13, 2019

Media Release – A fair go for the west with SBS – Monday, 13 May 2019

A Shorten Labor Government will commission a feasibility study into the relocation of the Sydney-based headquarters and studios of the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) from Artarmon to Western Sydney, alongside the provision of a multi-purpose space for content creation and public use.

To build the inclusive Australia of tomorrow, you need to start planning today.

Western Sydney is one of Australia’s most diverse and fast-growing areas and SBS is Australia’s most diverse multiplatform digital broadcaster.

But there is an imbalance in infrastructure, skilled jobs and cultural investment in Western Sydney; and the proposed relocation of SBS has been mooted for years.

The feasibility study will examine the merits of addressing the inequality in Western Sydney by utilising and leveraging the public’s investment in the nation’s multicultural broadcaster, the SBS.

The SBS is a vibrant, diverse and innovative jewel in Australia’s multicultural crown and Labor wants to explore the synergies in situating it in the heart of a fast-growing corridor in multicultural Australia.

When former Prime Minister Paul Keating opened the SBS building in Artarmon over 25 years ago, it was to help mainstream SBS by moving it closer to other TV networks, bringing radio and TV under the one roof for a complete service and reflecting its image as elegant, economic and efficient.

A quarter of a century later, other TV networks have relocated and SBS is a distinctive, dynamic and successful multiplatform digital broadcaster that stands on its own two feet.

The Liberals know the cost of everything but the value of nothing.

After promising “No cuts to the SBS” the Liberals slashed the SBS budget, conducted two efficiency reviews into its operations as well as a faux competitive neutrality inquiry – all Charter reviews by stealth. Twice the Liberals introduced bills into Parliament to increase prime time advertising on SBS, which Labor opposed and defeated; what’s more the Liberals used the SBS as a bargaining chip in a deal with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.

In contrast, Labor is committed to growing the SBS, Australia’s trusted multicultural broadcaster, and utilising its value as a platform.

The feasibility study is in addition to our previous commitments that a Shorten Labor Government will:

  • Provide $20 million to the SBS for Australian content.
  • Provide $2 million to the SBS to upgrade systems to provide audio description for blind and low vision Australians.
  • Halt any further spending of what remains of the $17.1 million of taxpayer funds Scott Morrison provided for the provision of commercial TV content to the Pacific; with the intention of redirecting it from the commercial media sector to the ABC and SBS in a manner consistent with the outcomes of two departmental reviews into Soft Power and Australian Broadcasting in the Asia Pacific.

Labor wants to leverage Australia’s investment in the Australia of tomorrow and is committed to seeing both SBS and Western Sydney thrive in the 21st Century.

Labor respects the independence of the SBS and will work with the SBS to progress this in a consultative manner.

Only Labor will support and maintain the SBS as our comprehensive, independent national broadcaster because we will make multinationals pay their fair share and close tax loopholes used by the top end of town.

End the cuts and chaos. Vote for change. Vote for Labor.