The ABC has released new commissioning guidelines, with the ultimate goal of ensuring more diverse faces, cultures, voices, and stories reflected on Australian screens.
The guidelines will deliver authentic Australian stories by requiring production companies to provide greater access and opportunities to under-represented people, and their perspectives. This includes Indigenous Australians, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people living with disabilities, and the LGBTQI+ community.
These guidelines build on the pre-existing ABC commitment under its Charter to reflect the cultural diversity of the Australian community.
They cover content commissioned across multiple genres, including drama, children’s, comedy, factual and entertainment. Ultimately, they aim to enrich the ABC’s content by giving platforms to different voices, subjects and talent.
Though the ABC does already prioritise diversity and inclusion, this is the first time it has prescribed commissioning guidelines across multiple genres, reflecting a determination to push for more representation across the Australian screen industry.
“Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of everything we do at the ABC,” said Michael Carrington, ABC Director Entertainment and Specialist.”
“As a public broadcaster, we must reflect the audience we are serving and a broad range of perspectives, people and stories makes us stronger, more creative and better able to engage with and reflect the Australian community.”
“The ABC’s new guidelines, alongside industry-wide initiatives through screen agencies and the Screen Diversity Inclusion Network, will help bring new voices, cultures and perspectives to audiences. We will work with our production partners to make the industry a more inclusive workspace, by opening the doors to diverse creative talent, on and off screen.”
The guidelines are part of the ABC’s Five Year Plan 2020-2025 to look and sound like contemporary Australia. They also support the ABC’s Elevate Reconciliation Plan 2019-2022 and Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2019-2022.
Producers will need to demonstrate how their content reflects authentic diversity and inclusion in subject matter or cast, as well as diversity in key creative, production and crew roles.
The guidelines also set out a framework for creating practical and meaningful opportunities for under-represented groups to advance their careers.
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