Australian public broadcaster to cut 250 jobs

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is the nation’s most trusted outlet according to a recent public opinion survey. (AFP)
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Updated 24 June 2020

Australian public broadcaster to cut 250 jobs

  • Redundancies inevitable after the broadcaster’s budget was effectively slashed by $58 million over three years

SYDNEY: Australia’s public broadcaster announced Wednesday it will cut 250 staff, the latest in a slew of redundancies as the country’s conservative government seeks to slash taxpayer funding.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation — which is routinely maligned by ruling conservative politicians and Rupert Murdoch’s competing mastheads — will seek tens of millions of US dollars in savings as its government funding continues to be cut.
“We anticipate we will farewell as many as 250 people through this process,” ABC Managing Director David Anderson said outlining a five-year restructuring plan.
Anderson said the redundancies were inevitable after the broadcaster’s budget was effectively slashed by $58 million over three years.
According to the ABC, its annual revenue from the government was around Aus$879 million this financial year.
ABC operates across the Australian continent, with reporters based in rural and remote areas, and is the nation’s most trusted outlet according to a recent public opinion survey.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the restructuring was needed to adapt to a changing media landscape. He welcomed a plan to move 75 percent of staff out of the broadcaster’s Sydney headquarters.
“The ABC needs to reflect all of Australia, and Sydney is not Australia,” Fletcher told reporters.
The cutbacks follow a long list of redundancies and closures at Australian media outlets, with the crisis in the news business made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.
The national newswire AAP announced earlier this month it would cut half its staff after narrowly avoiding closure, and prior to that, News Corp. had said it would stop printing more than 100 regional and local newspapers.
The media union said government funding cuts were vindictive and ideological, designed to undermine the independence of the broadcaster.
“The Coalition Government’s war against the ABC ... amounts to nothing less than vandalism of one of Australia’s most trusted and valued public institutions,” Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance chief executive Paul Murphy said.


Facebook creates unit devoted to financial services

Updated 11 August 2020

Facebook creates unit devoted to financial services

  • The Novi wallet — set to launch when Libra coins debut — promises to give Facebook opportunities to build financial services into its offerings
  • Facebook Financial will handle management and strategy for all payments and money services across the platform

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook on Monday said it has created a new unit devoted to financial services to harmonize payment systems on its platform.
The new group, called Facebook Financial, will be headed by e-commerce veteran David Marcus, who was a president at PayPal before joining the leading social network six years ago.
Marcus is one of the creators of Facebook’s digital money network Libra, and heads the team building a Novi digital wallet tailored for the currency.
The Novi wallet — set to launch when Libra coins debut — promises to give Facebook opportunities to build financial services into its offerings, offer to expand its own commerce and let more small businesses buy ads on the social network.
Facebook Financial will handle management and strategy for all payments and money services across the Silicon Valley company’s platform.
“Today various payments features exist across our apps, and we want to make sure decision making, execution and compliance are not fragmented,” Facebook said in an email reply to an AFP inquiry.
“We want to be able to give people the ability to make a payment however they choose — debit, credit or Libra digital currencies.”
Noting security concerns posed by Facebook’s yet-to-be-launched digital currency Libra, the Federal Reserve last week revealed plans for its own instant payments system.
FedNow will provide households and businesses with instant access to payments, for wages, government benefits or sales, without waiting days for checks to clear, the Fed said.
The system, which is not due to launch for two to three years, “will be designed to maintain uninterrupted 24x7x365 processing with security features to support payment integrity and data security,” the central bank said.
Facebook’s announcement last year of plans to design the Libra cryptocurrency and payments system raised immediate red flags for global finance officials who expressed a barrage of withering criticism about the security and reliability of a private network.