ABC to boost Indigenous content

The ABC will step up its Indigenous content with the appointment of Sally Riley in a newly-created position of Head of ABC TV’s Indigenous Department.

Riley has been Head of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Unit for the last nine years. At the ABC she will be responsible for developing and commissioning an expanded slate of prime-time drama and documentary projects as well as the ongoing production of magazine programme Message Stick.

Director of ABC TV Kim Dalton said, “During her time as Head of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Unit, Sally has made a major contribution to the development of a vibrant independent Indigenous screen sector. Sally has also been responsible for developing and financing an impressive body of short dramas, documentaries and feature films.

“Last year ABC TV was able to screen a number of these, including Warwick Thornton’s outstanding Samson and Delilah. However, it’s time ABC TV stepped up and engaged more actively both with this fundamental part of our Australian culture and the emerging group of exciting and impressive Indigenous program makers. There is nobody more qualified than Sally to lead this work and I am very excited about welcoming her to ABC TV.”

Last year ABC aired a showcase of Indigenous short films presented by Margaret Pomeranz, The New Black.


  1. SBS’s time is over. We’ve moved on as a multicultural society and the national broadcaster needs to reflect us back to ourselves in a way we can recognize. The ABC is finally doing this (except drama which remains boringly anglo). I was thinking that the best of SBS programs would work equally well on the ABC – eg The Circuit , East West 101, The First Australians and RocKwiz, so more people will actually see them. SBS gazupmped the ABC on these shows because the ABC was lost in the wilderness during the coalition years – but that has changed. I honestly don’t see why we need two underfunded national broadcasters, supported by two entire infrastructures in a multi-channel world. It’s about more money for more quality content, and less empire building which is the only going on at SBS right now as they are not commissioning anything except factual lite.

  2. Wow, I didn’t know so many people on the forum are so offended with Aboriginal programming appearing on their TV.

    So what if Aboriginal people are a minority? You don’t have to be Aboriginal to watch it. We’ve got wall to wall white faces on commercial TV, yet you crack the sh*ts if the ABC decide to do something like this. Unbelievable.

    This reminds me of that god awful thread several months ago when someone dared suggest we have more non-white faces on Australian TV.

  3. Sigh. Indigenous Australians are a minority. Therefore ABC’s limited funds should be given out accordingly, which means more programmes with less of an Aboriginal slant. Drama that is. A few more documentaries about the truth of living conditions, government handouts and general life of Aborigines in the Outback would not go astray.

    “At the ABC she will be responsible for developing and commissioning an expanded slate of prime-time drama and documentary projects”

    I wonder when we will see these new dramas. The ABC drama shelf has been bare for years, despite new funding grants from the government and promises for years this would change.

    I can’t see this move ending well. Not only does it smack of tokenism and political correctness, it feels really misplaced when the ABC has so many other problems without having to devote money to a frivolous exercise. Currently the ABC has far too many American/Canadian imports, devotes far too much time to childrens programmes, airs too many third rate documentaries, airs too many political affair shows with bias or watered down contentn (7:30 Report, Catalyst, 4 Corners) and has a lack of well written, relevant Australian Drama. Maybe when the ABC fixes these issues they can concentrate on Indigenous programmes. Besides, why do we have SBS for then?

    Ronnie, SBS and ABC should not merge. I do not want all of SBS’ junk on the ABC. They have completely different styles in programming, which even though I do not like on the SBS, others do. They should not have to suffer just to please others needlessly.

    Why ruin two institutions on the say of a whim?

  4. Surely an example of the reason for having multi channels, increased content.

    The creation of SBS was to provide an alternative to what the commercials and in particular the ABC were offering at the time and this continued until the creation of multi channels. This is bound blur the traditional programming acquired by both ABC and SBS.

    There is nothing cringeworthy about the ABC’s Anglo/BBC view as it offers quality content and the more the better.

  5. I know it’s probably a capitol offense, but did anyone else find “Samson & Delilah” a completely pretentiously boring waste of 90 minutes of one’s life? By the way – any jobs going in the new Indigenous Department at the ABC? I can say the politically correct things when required. To save a bit of tax-payers dough, we’ll start with a showing of the ‘classic ‘ Australian film “Journey Out of Darkness” starring Kamahl and Ed Devereaux (look it up!).

  6. Well there goes another 200,000 viewers. ABC programming run by people waiting for Gough to run again. ….Second thoughts ………Kev, time for another trip to your controllers in China.

  7. Please, Ronnie!

    SBS has done way more for Indigenous content than the ABC, considering they’ve only just discovered Indigenous programming in the last five minutes. Are you forgetting the internationally acclaimed documentary series, First Australians? The whole reason SBS was set up in the first place stems from the ABC’s Anglo-Saxon/BBC-loving view of Australia in the early 1980s.

    It’s time for you to move onto another topic. please!

  8. Time to run the d-Gen skit “We’re still number four, still number four. Even SBS are knocking at the door”. What a waste pandering to minority groups, would we happen to have left wingers in office?

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