National broadcasting services
National broadcasting services through the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), the latter of which includes the National Indigenous Television Service (NITV) :
The function of the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is to provide multilingual and multicultural radio, television and digital media services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians and, in doing so, reflect Australia's multicultural society. The SBS has been operating for nearly 40 years, and is the most linguistically diverse broadcaster in the world, serving both longstanding language communities as well as the new and emerging, high needs language groups in Australia. SBS performs its functions primarily via its free-to-air television channels, analogue and digital radio, subscription television channels and digital media platforms. These showcase a large variety of languages and cultures to increase awareness and promote understanding of cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity in Australia. In addition, SBS is a major employer of multicultural and Indigenous talent and a producer of multilingual services, and it sponsors a variety of multicultural events and organisations. It has an active Reconciliation Action Plan which actively promotes business opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities, and it is a member of Supply Nation which provides access to a database of Indigenous business suppliers for procurement opportunities. SBS offers training and development programs including journalism cadetships, media mentorships and Indigenous training programs. The National Indigenous Television Service (NITV) became part of SBS in July 2012. The NITV schedule features news and current affairs, sport, documentaries, entertainment and children’s programs which are produced by, for and about Indigenous Australians. Over 75 per cent of NITV employees are Indigenous.
The purpose of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is to provide broadcasting and digital media services that, among other things, contribute to a sense of national identity, inform and entertain, and reflect the cultural diversity of the Australian community. The ABC's purpose is formalised in its Charter, which requires it to take account of the multicultural character of the Australian community. The ABC has been operating for over 80 years. Over the past 30 years, the ABC has significantly expanded the services it provides to the Australian community to increase access to its programming, including through digital media platforms. The ABC's programming reflects the diverse nature of Australian society, and increases awareness of a range of cultures, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
The ABC’s Reconciliation Action Plan for 2013–15 seeks to improve opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in terms of cultural understanding and respect, generating employment, including relevant content in its programs, and by creating and maintaining links to the community. The ABC has an Equity and Diversity Plan, under which it has introduced a Cultural Diversity Tool to provide managers with data to inform recruitment strategies and to assist content makers with data, research, events and relevant contacts.
Challenges arise in delivering quality products to the greatest number of Australians at appropriate costs, given the geographical diversity of Australia, the diverse nature of media delivery platforms and the many-faceted preferences and diverse nature of Australian society.
Monitoring and evaluation is commonly conducted on determining the efficacy of policies and programs in Australia. A range of monitoring and reporting mechanisms are used.
For example, each agency is required to produce an Annual Report which provides an overview of strategic performance as a whole, as well as performance against internal measures towards equity and diversity. This includes progress towards Australia’s National Arts and Disability Strategy, which aims to ensure that all people with a disability have access to, and are able to participate in, arts and cultural activities, and are involved in the decisions that affect them. The Strategy’s focus has been on improving access to, and participation in, arts and cultural activities by people with disability, both as audience members and participants, and addressing barriers that discourage emerging artists and cultural workers with disability from developing their practice. The strategy has recently been evaluated and the final report is available online at http://mcm.arts.gov.au/working-groups/nads