McGrath Calls for the Sale of Inner-City ABC Headquarters

Queensland LNP Senator James McGrath has today called for the inner-city ABC headquarters of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to be sold, with the proceeds to help retire existing government debt.

“The ABC needs to shift its headquarters away from the inner-city latte lines to where the ‘quiet Australians’ live, work and play,” Senator McGrath said.

“It is long past time that the ABC sold Ultimo and its inner-city headquarters in Brisbane and Melbourne, and moved to the suburbs or regions.

Senate Estimates questions on notice submitted by Senator McGrath to the Environment and Communications Committee revealed the ABC’s property portfolio is worth $522 million.

“Of the 37 properties in the ABC’s portfolio, Ultimo, Brisbane South Bank and Melbourne Southbank account for 81 per cent of the portfolio’s value. That’s $426 million. What is this achieving for the taxpayer?

“The proceeds from the sale of these premises should go towards paying down the national debt.

“Considering the substantial advances in communications and media technology, I see no reason as to why the ABC cannot operate out of towns such as Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Caboolture or Beenleigh.

“For the purposes of conducting interviews, the ABC could easily copy the Sky News model of a small booth close to capital city CBDs.

Senator McGrath’s call for the ABC to sell its inner-city headquarters is part one of his three part plan to help the national broadcaster return to its core duties of delivering accurate, factual and unbiased news services and content.

“The ABC currently operates like a closed-shop, left-wing vortex with an appointments process more secretive than the selection of the Pope,” said Senator McGrath.

The other parts of the plan include calling for all ABC roles to be advertised externally to broaden the diversity of views within the organisation, and for the government to commit to a full review of the ABC’s Charter, taking into account the changing media environment.