• A statue of Captain James Cook in Sydney's Hyde Park. (AFP)Source: AFP
Shock and outrage after decision to rip funding from public broadcaster to help fund a statue celebrating colonial "discovery" of Australia in 2018 budget.
Staff Writer

9 May 2018 - 12:02 PM  UPDATED 9 May 2018 - 12:02 PM

In a surprise move the federal government announced it was funding a controversial statue and memorial to Captain Cook's arrival in Australia by cutting funding to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Funding to the ABC will be cut by $84 million and SBS (which NITV is a part of) will receive a small boost in funding of $14.6 million over four years.

From this cut $48.7 million will go to commemorating the 250th anniversary of Cook's landing, including a new monument.

Indigenous Senator Pat Dodson said the cuts to pay for a controversial memorial was not the best idea.

"I think we have got to find ways to deal with our history, and we have heard from the Uluru Statement from the Heart for the need for a truth telling commission, for a Makarrata Commission, so we can come to a greater consensus around the settlement narrative, the occupation narrative and the so called "discovery" narrative of this nation," he said this morning on ABC radio.

"I think we have to get beyond these colonial and draconian measures that keep continuing to divide us."

Treasurer Scott Morrison said of the cuts that, "Everyone has to live within their means, including the ABC."

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie said she was disappointed by "what amounts to a further substantial budget cut", in an email to staff after the budget decision was revealed. 

“This decision will make it very difficult for the ABC to meet its charter requirements and audience expectations.” 

The monument proposed at the site of Captain Cook's first landing on April 29 1770 at Botany Bay in Sydney has drawn praise and criticism from the Indigenous community.

Plans for the monument were unveiled by federal treasurer Scott Morrison on Saturday for the site where Cook first landed with the crew of the ship Endeavour and met Indigenous Australians for the first time.

The monument is expected to be ready in time for the 250th Anniversary of the landing in 2020.

Pastor Ray Minniecon, an Aboriginal activist who has helped to organise "Invasion Day" protests on Australia Day, said it was upsetting.

"It's still an invasion and it's still an unwanted invasion," he said.


New Captain Cook monument draws mixed response from Indigenous community
Mixed response to plans for a new statue of Captain Cook in Sydney ahead of the 250th anniversary of his landing at Botany bay.