ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie and SBS boss Michael Ebeid have refused to answer questions about their media organisations freeloading on the public purse.
Following revelations at michaelwest.com.au that the TV networks were failing to pay “co-user” fees to NSW Crown Lands, spokespeople for Ebeid and Guthrie said they had outsourced their transmission to BAI Communications, an ex-Macquarie Bank operation.
It was therefore not their concern, they said, and advised that we contact their service provider BAI. BAI chief executive Jim Hassell has refused repeated requests for interview. BAI had earlier claimed the story was inaccurate and demanded it be taken down.
BAI books hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from its arrangements with the national broadcasters but refuses to pay its rents in accordance with IPART recommendations. Meanwhile the NSW Volunteer Rescue Service and other smaller organisations pay their co-user fees.
The Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield has also gone into hiding, his PR people refusing to return phone calls and emails.