City leaders disappointed by ABC closure

GLADSTONE leaders are disappointed by the ABC's decision to close its Gladstone radio post.

The ABC on Monday announced the Gladstone post would close as part of $254 million in cuts.

Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Ltd chief executive Glenn Churchill told The Australian the closure was a bitter pill to swallow.

"Gladstone is a port city of global significance. If (the ABC) has to make certain funding cuts, we take that on the chin, but we need to make sure the quality and level of service does not weaken," Mr Churchill said.

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The ABC will cover Gladstone from its Rockhampton office, as has been the case since the service's only full-time radio reporter left the city months ago.

The ABC's leased office in the Gladstone CBD will be closed.

Mayor Gail Sellers told the ABC that central Queensland media shouldn't ignore a city the size of Gladstone.

"Each is different and each still needs to be based here in Gladstone," she said.

"I know ABC is universal, and for our country people and the country areas of the Gladstone region they would most certainly miss this greatly."

Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said Gladstone was an important industrial city.

"It's a growing city and we require a lot of services and radio is a very important part of our world," he said.

"I'm sad to see it go because once things go they never seem to come back. It also means another empty shop in Gladstone which again is disappointing."

The Australian Marine Conservation Society also condemned the closure of ABC Gladstone.

"ABC Gladstone was pivotal to uncovering the truth behind the environmental disaster at the Port of Gladstone," Great Barrier Reef campaign director Felicity Wishart said.

"The station was first to report the devastating impact of dredging and dumping in the Port of Gladstone including the destruction of the Gladstone fishing industry.

"The loss of ABC Gladstone will be keenly felt in Gladstone and surrounding areas."

ABC managing director Mark Scott on Monday said the Gladstone office was one of five regional radio posts across the country to close.

He said the sites needed continual maintenance, the number of staff impacted was minimal, and there were no implications for content.

Mr Scott said there was no broadcasting taking place out of the Gladstone office.

It was a base for a news reporter, and reporters could work at other facilities nearby, he said.

The other regional radio posts to be closed are Wagin in Western Australia, Morwell in Victoria, Port Augusta in South Australia and Nowra in New South Wales.



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