Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

ABC and SBS Efficiency Study

31 January 2014

The Department of Communications will conduct a study of the efficiency of the operations of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Special Broadcasting Service. Mr Peter Lewis, formerly Chief Financial Officer of Seven West Media Limited, will assist the Department in this work.

It is a routine responsibility of the Minister to ensure that the ABC and SBS use public resources as efficiently as possible. Over time Parliament has broadened the Charter responsibilities of the ABC and SBS. But the means by which these responsibilities are delivered, resources are allocated and priorities determined is at the discretion of the national broadcasters' boards and managements – with varying levels of transparency to the Government of cost drivers or scope for efficiencies.

The study will examine costs for the day-to-day operations which deliver ABC and SBS programs, products and services, and propose options to increase efficiency and reduce expense. The objective is to ensure ABC and SBS fulfil their Charter responsibilities at least cost to the community, and keep pace with rapidly changing practices in the broadcasting sector.

It will not review the terms of the national broadcasters' Charters, or editorial and programming decisions. In other words the study will not review the content of what is broadcast, but rather the cost of delivering that content and the operations that support it.

The study is being conducted with the full co-operation and assistance of ABC and SBS, which have both volunteered representatives to work on the team to be overseen by Mr Lewis. The ABC and SBS have welcomed the study as a useful and timely addition to their routine internal processes to identify efficiencies.

Further information about the study is available at

Back to top