Inquiries and reviews into the ABC and SBS

Competitive Neutrality of the National Broadcasters Inquiry

On 29 March 2018, the Government appointed an independent panel to conduct an inquiry into the competitive neutrality of the national broadcasters. Mr Robert Kerr chaired the panel, and was joined by Ms Julie Flynn and Ms Sandra Levy AO.

The panel provided its report to the Minister for Communications and the Arts on 28 September 2018.

The inquiry examined whether the operations of the ABC and SBS were aligned with the principles of competitive neutrality. The principles require government business activities avoid having a net competitive advantage against the private sector by virtue of being a public entity.

The panel found the national broadcasters are applying ‘best endeavours’ to meet competitive neutrality requirements but recommended they improve their transparency, reporting and other processes relating to their competitive activities and Charter performance.

Review of Australian Broadcasting Services in the Asia Pacific

In 2018, the Government reviewed Australian media services in the Asia Pacific. This review examined all media distribution platforms—like television, radio (including shortwave) and online services—alongside commercial, community and publicly funded services like the national broadcasters.

The Department of Communications and the Arts and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade conducted the review with the assistance of Sapere Research Group.

In March 2019, the Department released the report of its review into Australian Broadcasting Services in the Asia Pacific.

2018 National Broadcasters Efficiency Review

The 2018, the Department completed an efficiency review of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Special Broadcasting Service. The purpose of the efficiency review was to assist the ABC and SBS in determining appropriate ways of operating more efficiently.

The report was published in December 2018, but contains details that are commercial-in-confidence and have been redacted (blacked out) at the request of the ABC and SBS.

2014 ABC and SBS Efficiency Study

In 2014, the ABC and SBS Efficiency Study examined the costs for the day-to-day operations that deliver ABC and SBS programs, products, and services.

A draft report was published on 15 April 2014. It contains financial details that have been redacted (blacked out) at the request of the ABC and SBS. An executive summary of the report, published on 9 May 2014, is also available for download.

Last updated: 5 April 2022