Bringing The Arts, News and Other Services to Rural and Regional Children

Bringing The Arts, News and Other Services to Rural and Regional Children

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts has announced a new inquiry into the importance of public and commercial broadcasting, online content and live production to rural and regional Australia, including arts, news and other services.

The Committee Chairman, the Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP, said “it is important that rural and regional Australians have good access to television and regional broadcasts, online content and live productions. People should be able to access and enjoy the arts, and have reliable and relevant news and other services no matter where they live in Australia.”

The ACTF is encouraging the Committee to take into account the experiences and opportunities for children in rural and regional areas.

“All children, no matter where they are in Australia, should have access to Australian content, which is relevant to them, reflects their lived experiences and provides a window to the rest of Australia” says ACTF CEO, Jenny Buckland.

On Public Broadcasting:

The ABC provides a consistent and reliable source of quality Australian children’s television content via ABC2 (for pre-school children) and ABC3 (for school aged children). But there is constant pressure to squeeze funding for children’s television within the ABC, with the result that much of the content available for children, even on the ABC, is imported. The ABC has no funding targets or content levels that it is required to meet for children’s television. Indeed, children’s television is not even included as a core requirement within the ABC’s Charter.

The ACTF will suggest to the Committee that the ABC should receive tied funding for children’s content (which is safe from re-allocation toward other internal priorities) and that in return, it should be expected to provide a comprehensive service for Australian children which includes locally produced content for all age groups, in a range of genres, including live action drama, news and factual content. These programs should entertain, inform, engage and educate young Australians by reflecting the great diversity of states, regions and cultures in our country, contributing to the audience’s developing sense of Australian identity and citizenship.

On Commercial Broadcasting:

Unlike the ABC, the commercial broadcasters are currently required to make provision for children via the Children’s Television Standards and the Australian Content Standard. These regulations ensure that minimum levels of Australian content are provided for Australian children on commercial television, and include an Australian “Children’s Drama Quota”. Because animation is included within the Children’s Drama Quota, it is not always easy for the audience to tell that these programs are Australian, especially when they are actually international co-productions. The ACTF recommends that at least 50% of the programs counting towards the Children’s Drama Quota should be live action Australian children’s drama, to ensure an Australian look and feel on some of the commercial programs broadcast for children.

How can you get involved?

The Committee is inviting submissions to the inquiry by Friday 5 February 2016. Anyone can make a submission. For further information visit the Committee’s website at  www.aph.gov.au/communications or contact the committee secretariat on (02) 6277 4386.