The First Nations broadcasting and media sector 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. First Nations Media Australia is calling for a whole scale renewal of the Australian Government's policy for the industry. 

First Nations Media Australia's 2018 Calls for Action address the challenges facing the sector and set out programs and actions that will support renewal and strengthening of the sector. The outcomes of the May 2017 and March 2018 CONVERGE Media Summits have guided this work, complemented by the outcomes of the National Indigenous Media Festival held in September 2017.

Our 2018 calls for policy and program action by government

CONVERGE Brisbane March 2018 set directions for the call to the Australian Government to renew policy on First Nations broadcasting and media. Nine (9) specific Calls for Action by the Australian Government have now been approved by the First Nations Media Australia Board of Directors for First Nations Media Australia to progress in its industry advocacy and development role.

These are set out in the series of documents available on our Calls for Action page.   

First Nations Media Australia is also developing policy statements on broader areas identified at CONVERGE as needing advocacy. These include repair and maintenance issues of the VAST Direct to Home program in remote Australia, and Indigenous Digital Inclusion, with documents to be published in due course. 


Our policy forums


CONVERGE is a key policy development forum bringing together First Nations Media Australia 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 First Nations Media Australia's policy and advoccay work.

Industry Advisory Groups

First Nations Media Australia 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 First Nations Media Australia 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.

The 2016 calls for action

In 2016 during First Nations Media Australia's period of remote representation, First Nations Media Australia developed a series of Calls for Action:

  1. 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
  2. Increase bandwidth for satellite delivered remote Indigenous radio services to address sub standard audio quality. Download. Achieved
  3. Expansion of employment and recognition of the professionalism of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander remote media jobs. Download
  4. Positioning of the remote Indigenous media sector as the preferred supplier of government Indigenous focused information campaigns. Download
  5. Expansion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander radio services. Download
  6. Adequate funding for maintenance of self-help radio services in remote Australia. Download
  7. Rectifying the failure of Direct-To-Home digital TV services to remote communities. Download
  8. Roll-out of effective broadband to remote Australia. Download

Policy background

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.

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