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Australia’s ABC expands its regional and rural coverage

Australia’s ABC says it has significantly expanded its regional and rural coverage following its recruitment of 55 regionally based journalists, which is anticipated will boost the number of its employees working outside capital cities to more than 600.

The new regional roles were made possible through commercial deals struck with Facebook and Google in November last year, following the passage of the Federal Government’s News Media Bargaining Code earlier in 2021.

The ABC had said any net revenues resulting from an agreement with Google and Facebook would be invested in supporting regional and rural public interest journalism.

Speaking at the opening of the ABC’s first-ever bureau in Charleville in South West Queensland, Managing Director David Anderson said the ABC had moved fast over the summer to advertise and recruit in every state and in the Northern Territory.

Mr Anderson said there had been strong interest in the roles, with more than 580 applications received.

“I can’t think of a better way to start our 90th year than increasing and expanding our coverage in regional and rural Australia, particularly in areas where to date the ABC has not had a presence,” he said.

The ABC said the 55 positions would have a big impact on its ability to cover regional issues, from the larger regional centres to remoter communities.

It would mean more stories, better coverage and specialist reporting on the issues that matter to people living in the regions and important insights into regional and rural Australia for people residing in Australia’s capital cities.

Charleville is one of ten new locations for the ABC along with Batemans Bay, Warragul, Carnarvon, Hervey Bay, Gladstone, Whyalla, Northam, Swan Hill and Victor Harbor.

The ABC has boosted the number of journalists in nine existing bureaus in Horsham, Burnie, Dubbo, Wagga Wagga, Katherine, Esperance, Karratha, Longreach and Toowoomba.

The ABC now has journalists in 58 locations across the country.