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Protecting specialist knowledge at ABC

Statement from the Heritage Collections Advisory Group on staffing cuts proposed by Australian Broadcaster ABC

The Heritage Collections Advisory Group (HCAG) is a network of representative sector organisations and individuals with a common interest in the promotion and safeguarding of specialist collections, knowledge and expertise in libraries, archives, museums, Universities and related knowledge and memory institutions.

We are deeply concerned at the news of the proposal by the Australian Broadcaster ABC to cut 58 librarian and archivist roles and a further 17 contract staff from their professional workforce.

We endorse the views set out in the Joint Statement of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) that:

“The ABC’s archival collections are a collection of national significance, and their value and use goes well beyond just supporting the day to day work of the ABC. The continued collection and maintenance of these collections by skilled professionals is essential if the Australian community is to benefit from the collection into the future, and to ensure that we don’t lose irreplaceable content.”

Specialist collections, knowledge and research – and the expert librarians and archivists that curate and manage them – are vital to the credibility of any organisation that seeks to provide balanced, accurate and impartial information to the public.

We believe that the proposals, if enacted, will do profound and lasting damage to the ABC’s credibility and integrity as a broadcaster and we call on Managing Director David Anderson to engage with the staff affected in a positive and collaborative spirit to seek better alternatives to these staffing cuts.

Nick Poole, CEO, Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)

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