The Australian Film Commission today launched its publication Changing Standards for Australian Content on TV. AFC Chief Executive Kim Dalton said there are few, if any, policy issues of more significance to the film and television industry than Australian content.
"Television is central to our industry in every respect - economic, cultural, employment, creative development and creative output," he said.
Changing Standards for Australian Content on TV was launched by the AFC at the Australian Broadcasting Authority Conference in Canberra. The Authority is currently reviewing the Australian Content Standard for Television.
The publication is a transcript of a workshop, co-hosted by the AFC, Network Insight and Allens Arthur Robinson in Sydney last month, about Australian content.
"Speakers at the workshop represented a wide range of perspectives from across the television sector .The workshop was distinguished by a frank exchange of views and particularly encouraging was the common ground evident between the broadcasters and the production sector. Of course there are also differences and these were the subject of lively debate, captured in the published proceedings," Dalton said.
The AFC, he said, is strongly committed to the interdependent goals of promoting Australian cultural identity and the development of the local industry that gives expression to our culture. The Australian Content Standard was essential to the achievement of these goals.
"In a society where television is the most significant form of cultural activity and where high ratings for Australian programs are evidence of the preferences of Australian audiences, it is appropriate that our broadcasting system be designed to deliver a diverse range of entertainment and information," he said.
Dalton noted significant drops in expenditure by the commercial television networks in 2000/2001 in the areas of Australian children's programming and documentaries. This, he said, is of major concern.
"Fundamental to the operation of the Australian Content Standard is a recognition of the capacity of broadcasters to pay for the television programs required to meet the Standard. The recently reported results of the Australian broadcasters show that their revenue base continues to grow," he said.
"Television has a significant impact on the development of an Australian identity, character and culture. It is an essential public interest obligation of privately owned television to screen significant amounts of drama, documentaries and children's programming in return for continued spectrum access and protection from competition."
Changing Standards for Australian Content on TV.