We are extremely disappointed at the outcome of the discussion we had with ABC senior management today.
Despite the concerns we raised and our request for a deferral of the decision to allow for proper consultation, ABC senior management have made it clear that they will continue with switching off shortwave at the end of January.
We believe that the ABC must defer its premature decision to switch off shortwave services in the Northern Territory.
It was made clear to us today that the ABC had not bothered to consult with Territorians before making the decision to cut shortwave radio services.
It is apparent that management have no idea about how remote Territorians access their news and information and how many rely on shortwave services, particularly in emergency situations.
To claim VAST satellite and mobile phone technology will fill the gap created is simply not true because these services are not mobile. As we were told today, they are only now trialling mobile antennas.
Whats worse is that ABC management appears convinced that it is more important to improve digital services for larger population centres, than to ensure basic service provision in the bush.
The ABC Local Radio service often provides the only reliable source of information and entertainment to remote communities, pastoral stations and people who otherwise work remotely and are mobile.
In times of natural disaster- such as flood, cyclones or fire - it can quite literally mean the difference between life and death.
ABC management must stop treating Territorians in remote areas like second-class citizens.
The ABC must defer the decision to scrap our shortwave radio, scheduled for the end of January, come to the NT and consult with the people who will be left even more isolated and at risk by this inequitable decision.