The Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF) conducted a second round of consultation to review changes to its ‘Structure and Governance’, and invited responses by 18 December 2015.
The NEMBC remains concerned that key issues have not been addressed. The ability to give feedback about these changes was restricted to one model while the NEMBC in numerous submissions has offered other suggestions. The proposed model changes the CBF from an administrator of funds to an agency that determines the direction for community radio stations and the sector. It also introduces a convoluted grant procedure for ethnic programs.
The present process of funding for ethnic broadcasts helps build social cohesion and promotes multiculturalism. The current grant system is simple, transparent, reliable and fair and is an important encouragement for community stations around Australia to broadcast ethnic programs. The proposed model will make ethnic program grants more complex and competitive. It will put ethnic radio programs at risk and will reduce funding to full time ethnic stations. The proposed grant system is heavily weighted towards new ideas and tends to turns its back on audiences built up over the years.
The proposed model gives the CBF Board the opportunity to select and appoint the whole of the organisation, albeit with the assistance of a new advisory group. This top-down approach disenfranchises the national peak bodies, erodes the democratic involvement of the sector, and is not consistent with the principles and core values of community broadcasting. Under the proposed model there will be no membership base, no elections and no system of representation.
The NEMBC submitted a detailed response to the CBF’s Round 2 consultation paper on 18 December 2015. Click here to read our submission.
The NEMBC is still collecting signatures to maintain the present democratic structure with links to the sector peak bodies.