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Australia's ABC loses international TV service contract

Australia's state broadcaster on Tuesday lost the contract to run an international television service into Asia, with the government saying it had failed to be cost-effective.

CANBERRA: Australia's state broadcaster on Tuesday lost the contract to run an international television service into Asia, with the government saying it had failed to be cost-effective.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation learned in the national budget that its contract to run the Australia Network would be terminated this year.

"The Australia Network has failed to deliver a cost-effective vehicle for advancing Australia's broad and enduring interests in the Indo-Pacific region," Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement.

"This decision will deliver A$76.8 million (US$72 million) over four years to repair the budget with additional savings over the lifetime of the contract."

The Australia Network is a government-funded overseas TV broadcasting service established to pursue foreign and trade policy objectives, including promoting Canberra's engagement in the Asia-Pacific and Indian subcontinent.

Provided by the ABC since 2001, the service is free-to-air and broadcasts a mix of news and current affairs, English-language education programmes, documentaries, drama, sports and children's shows.

The previous Labor government awarded the ABC a 10-year, A$223 million contract after a bungled tender in which confidential information was leaked to the media, prompting the bid process to be aborted.

Rival Sky News was later compensated over the incident.

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