The First Nations broadcasting and media industry is suffering from the lack of a contemporary Australian Government policy for the sector, as well as a significant decline in funding in real terms. IRCA is calling for a whole scale renewal of the Australian Government's policy for the industry.
IRCA is currently developing a full set of policies for current focus areas for further industry consultation and advocacy to government.The outcomes of the May 2017 and March 2018 CONVERGE Media Summits are guiding this work, complemented by the outcomes of the National Indigenous Media Festival held in September 2017.
Our current focus areas
- Renewal of Australia Government policy on First Nations broadcasting and media.
- Legislative change to recognise First Nations broadcasters as a sector in itself.
- Increasing funding for community based First Nations broadcasters and media producers.
- Recognising First Nations broadcasters and media as the primary channel for government information campaigns to First Nations communities and peoples.
- Expanding First Nations broadcasting into unserved or underserved areas.
- Expanding First Nations employment and skills development opportunities in and for the industry.
- Provision of affordable and effective broadband.
- Building the news and current affairs capacity of the industry.
- Preserving and archiving First Nations media collections.
- Upgrading broadcasting infrastructure to meet contemporary industry standards.
- Rectifying the failures of Direct To Home technologies in remote Indigenous communities.
- Increasing the digital literacy of First Nations people.
Our policy forums
CONVERGE is a key policy development forum bringing together IRCA members, industry stakeholders, researchers and policymakers to discuss issues and formulate directions for the development and strengthening of the industry. CONVERGE Communiques and Outcomes Reports are key documents providing the context for IRCA's policy and advoccay work.
- CONVERGE May 2017 Mbantua/Alice Springs
- CONVERGE March 2018 Meanjin/Brisbane
- The Communique and Activities and Outcomes Reports for CONVERGE Meanjin/Brisbane March 2018 are in development.
Industry Advisory Groups
IRCA Advisory Groups facilitate the sharing of information to enhance the policy and strategic development for the industry. Advisory Groups are comprised of appropriately experienced and skilled persons working in the sector, or, persons outside the sector able to offer required expertise. Planned Advisory Groups are:
- Radio content sharing
- Employment and Skills Development Strategy Development and Webinar Program Development.
- Technical (Broadcasting): standards, training options and resourcing needs.
- Technical (IT and Communications): broadband advocacy, resourcing, training, convergence and emerging technology preparedness needs.
- Archiving: archiving standards, training options and resourcing needs.
The Radio Content Sharing and the Employment and Skills Development Advisory Groups have been initiated, with other Advisory Groups progressively implemented over 2018. Please contact IRCA for further information on how to become involved.
Remote Indigenous Media Festival
The Festival has been a feature of the remote sector since 2001 and has grown significantly since that time to include over 120 delegates at each Festival. In 2017 the Festival expanded to include IRCA members from regional and urban areas. Festivals are an important forum for policy formulation and industry needs analysis.
Indigenous Focus Day, Broadband for the Bush Forum
The Indigenous Focus Day came into being after participants in the Broadband for the Bush Forum perceived a need for a dedicated forum for First Nations people to talk about their digital inclusion needs and challenges. The Indigenous Focus Day is an opportunity for First Nations people to engage and collaborate with their peers. It is an interactive event, facilitated primarily by First Nations peoples and organisations.
Our 2016 calls for action
In 2016 during IRCA's period of remote representation, IRCA developed a series of Calls for Action:
- Recognition of remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander media organisations as providing essential services in remote Indigenous communities and recognition of the need for adequate funding. Download
- Increase bandwidth for satellite delivered remote Indigenous radio services to address sub standard audio quality. Download. Achieved
- Expansion of employment and recognition of the professionalism of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander remote media jobs. Download
- Positioning of the remote Indigenous media sector as the preferred supplier of government Indigenous focused information campaigns. Download
- Expansion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander radio services. Download
- Adequate funding for maintenance of self-help radio services in remote Australia. Download
- Rectifying the failure of Direct-To-Home digital TV services to remote communities. Download
- Roll-out of effective broadband to remote Australia. Download
There has been a long history of the First Nations broadcasting and media sector leading as well as responding to policy needs and challenges. Beginning in the 1980s with the Out of a Silent Land report, the sector has been proactive in setting out an agenda for enhancing the sector's operations well as setting the agenda for emerging and new technologies.