Disappointing results highlight the need for more Australian screen content

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has today released the first results under new Australian content reporting for metropolitan commercial television broadcasters. 

This is the first time the commercial metropolitan networks have reported under the new Australian Content and Children’s Television Standards 2020 which commenced on 1 January 2021. 

Aggregated program expenditure has increased slightly but has not yet returned to pre-COVID levels.

Most starkly, total broadcast hours and expenditure on first release children’s screen content – both drama and non-drama – have decreased significantly. 

While this was expected as a result of the changes under the Australian Content and Children’s Television Standards, it is disappointing. It means there is much less Australian children’s content being produced and made available.

The Government is committed to reviewing Australian content policy settings as part of the National Cultural Policy. Consultation is currently under way, with submissions due by 22 August 2022. 

The National Cultural Policy will be a broad, comprehensive roadmap for Australia’s arts and culture. Any Australian with an interest in arts and culture can have their say by making an online submission, or attending one of the town hall events, which are being held in every state and territory.

Information on the National Cultural Policy and consultation process can be found at www.arts.gov.au/culturalpolicy.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Communications, the Hon. Michelle Rowland MP

“The findings of the ACMA report are concerning, and highlight the need for high-quality Australian children’s content to be made available across a range of platforms.

Our kids need to grow up with the opportunity to enjoy and learn from locally produced shows. These results reaffirm the need for screen policy settings to be carefully considered. 

For example, streaming services are one of the most popular ways for Australians to access screen content, but they are not currently subject to Australian content regulation, like commercial free-to-air broadcasters."

Quotes attributable to Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Tony Burke MP: 

“As Arts Minister I want to see more Australian stories told. Full stop.

Whether that’s Australian drama, documentaries or kids programming.

I appreciate Australian stories will never be all of the stories we watch, but it can be so much more.

That’s why we’re consulting on a National Cultural Policy, which we’ll release before the end of the year. To ensure we can shift the dial in the right direction and tell more Australian stories that we pass on to the next generation.”