Wednesday, 17 May 2023


SBS headquarters

SBS headquarters

David DAVIS (Southern Metropolitan) (18:02): (226) Today I want to raise a matter for the Minister for Creative Industries, and it concerns our government-funded national broadcasters. Both of these are important organisations, and despite the issues that many conservatives have with the behaviour of the ABC, not least in the recent period during the coronation – leaving all that aside – they are very significant economic generators and spenders of taxpayers money in key industries.

What irritates me here in particular is that both organisations are headquartered in Sydney. They both spend a significant share of their funding. In the case of the ABC 50 per cent of their staff are located in New South Wales and only 17 per cent are located in Victoria. In the case of the SBS 82 per cent of their staff are located in New South Wales and just 14 per cent of their staff are located in Victoria. This is important because there are jobs and linkages to the production areas of a number of key areas like writing and to the multicultural communities that are so significant in Victoria in the case of SBS. I make the point that Victoria is the most multicultural state of any state. We have the highest growth rate of any state in the country and will have going forward, and the number of migrants coming from all over the world is very significant.

The other point that I would make to the Minister for Creative Industries is that this does have a significant effect, given the huge disparity of spending by SBS in the two states. This is what troubles me at the moment. The federal government, the Commonwealth government, has a plan to move the SBS headquarters from central Sydney to western Sydney, from Artarmon to somewhere yet to be described in central western Sydney. They have also put out a working party to deal with this.

I say that instead of moving to western Sydney the SBS should be moved to Victoria, and I think the Andrews government should join us in advocating for those resources to be moved to Victoria, for the SBS headquarters to be here. We are the most multicultural state. We have people from all over the world. Our population is growing, and on some measures Melbourne is already the biggest city. You might want to have that debate. But what is clear is the trend is very much in our direction and in terms of the multicultural communities that we have, so I would seek that the Minister for Creative Industries join with us in actually moving forward to push and pressure the federal government, to advocate to the federal government, that SBS be located in Melbourne – perhaps in the Monash or Dandenong corridor but certainly in Melbourne – not in western Sydney.