After Cyclone Yasi hit Queensland in 2011, the former ABC managing director Mark Scott created an emergency broadcasting policy, in consultation with the Bureau of Meteorology and Australian fire and emergency authorities, Whelan said. The policy commits the ABC to issue all watch and act and emergency warnings and to undertake recovery broadcasting. There is no specific funding for these roles.
Despite the dramatic rise in the need for emergency broadcasts – from 256 in 2017-18 to 371 in 2018-19 to 673 to date this year – there will be no additional funding to cover the resources which have been poured into the effort, according to the ABC’s director of local and regional, Judith Whelan. And then there’s the small matter of the $14.6m Coalition budget cut to manage this year.