Screen Forever: Diversity the exception, not the rule.

Networks have public service obligations to reflect Australian diversity, Screen Forever conference heard today.

Screen Producers Australia CEO Matthew Deaner (pictured second from left) told delegates in Melbourne, “One third of Australians were born overseas. One half of Australians were either born, or have a parent that was born overseas. One third of Australians live in regional and remote Australia. 20 per cent of Australians are under the age of 14.

“This Australia deserves to see itself on screen.

“However, this Australia is not represented fully on our screens. This diverse Australia is represented by an exception, rather than the rule. We have the power as Australia’s story tellers to strengthen this wonderful diversity by telling its stories. We have the power also to help reconcile our country’s relationship with indigenous peoples through their stories. But we must have strong commitments to making this happen. We can’t allow our industry to abandon parts of our society, diverse Australia, regional and remote Australia, Australian children.”

The comments come at a time when commercial networks are seeking to reduce or abandon Children’s TV quotas.

Earlier this year networks also signed to the Screen Diversity and Inclusion Network which aims to reflect diversity in gender, age, race, sexual orientation, nationality, religion and disability or geographic location.

“All our broadcasters – whether Government or Commercial – all of them – have Public Service Obligations,” said Deaner.

“The Screen Diversity and Inclusion Network was formed this year to address greater diversity in our industry. Australia’s incredible diversity produces incredible stories, we just need to find them and put them on screen.

“But to get these stories on our screen we need a diversity of supply. The key to great stories, great content, is a vibrant, sustainable industry of depth and breadth. Nimble, innovative businesses are best placed to pivot quickly to changing market conditions and bring together world-renowned creative talent. The independent sector brings diversity, freshness and efficiency and promotes innovation, creativity and risk-taking.”

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