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The NEMBC is involved in policy development and provides an important national voice to effectively support and promote the views of its members and sustainability of the multicultural broadcasting sector.
Some recent issues include:
CBF Structure and Governance Review
The funding agency for our sector, the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF), has been undertaking a review of its structure and governance for the last two years.
The NEMBC has been very active in the process to ensure that any changes reflect and strengthen the diversity of the sector. Ethnic broadcasters have played a key role in shaping and developing community radio in Australia, which we hope will always remain recognised in the structure of the sector.
Racial Discrimination Act
On 25 March 2014 the Attorney-General’s department released the draft amendments to the Racial Discrimination Act (1975), inviting community consultation until 30 April 2014. We immediately began an advocacy campaign against the changes, which we believed would legitimise bigotry and make racial vilification harder to prove.
In the April mail-out of The Ethnic Broadcaster, we included a short letter about the Racial Discrimination Act proposed changes, calling on our members to write a letter or make a submission to the Attorney-General. We emphasised that it was particularly important for the Government to hear from people and communities affected by racial vilification, and ethnic broadcasters could bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from their communities to the Government’s attention. We provided a sample letter and some talking points to assist our members in writing submissions, and added this to the online resource, along with a media release.
We also wrote our own submission, signed by the NEMBC Executive Officers. Our submission discussed the first-hand experience that our members have of racial vilification in the form of offensive slurs, humiliating jokes and harmful stereotypes. We explained that as well as psychological damage to each individual, vilification takes a social toll by making us doubt our rights to be visible, to be heard, and to be Australian.
In total more than 5,300 submissions were sent to the Attorney-General’s office during the five week community consultation period, mostly opposing the proposed changes.
In August the Federal Government announced that the proposed changes would be taken “off the table” – so thank you to everyone who took part in the campaign to protect the laws that protect us from vilification!
Funds under threat
It was hard to believe that after 30 years of government support that suddenly all funds to ethnic community broadcasting could be slashed. That was the stark reality facing ethnic community broadcasters when the Commission of Audit made its recommendation just one week before the 2014 Federal Budget was due to be announced.
The NEMBC and other sector bodies ran popular campaigns to vigorously defend the funds.
The Budget was announced on 13 May 2014 and the funds for community broadcasting were maintained. We were safe, and we hope that is the end of it!
The NEMBC is responding to the recent reviews held by CBF, thus ensuring that ethnic community broadcasting is given its voice within the sector structure and funding. These reviews presently are:
- Review of new Content Development Funding, including the new ethnic funding received in 2011
- CBOnline Review
- CBF Structural and Governance Review
- National Training Review