I move:That this council—1.
Congratulates Adelaide’s community TV mediabroadcaster, Channel 44, for covering South Australian stories, social and cultural activities, showcasing talent and creating employment andhands-on training opportunities for the local screen sector for the past 15 years;2.
Expresses concern that, while community televisionhas always been self-funded, the past six yearsof instability caused by both short-term and often last-minute extensions on their licencehave made Channel 44’s financial stability and forwardplanning unduly challenging; 3.
Expresses disappointment that the federalgovernment intends to switch off community televisionin Australia from 30 June this year; 4.
Notes that allowing continued access to thespectrum comes at no budgetary cost and that noalternative use has been planned for the spectrum but that, without an ongoing and stable free-toairlicence, Channel 44’s partnerships and training opportunities will be lost; and 5.
Maintains that there is significant publicbenefit to Channel 44’s continuance on the local airwavesand urges the federal Minister for Communications to urgently provide a five-year commitmentto the spectrum, while it is not in use, forChannel 44 so that South Australia can keep local TV.
Channel 44 has been informed that the federalgovernment intends to switch off community televisionin Australia from 30 June this year.
That confirmation follows the loss of free-to-aircommunity TV in Western Australia, leaving our own Channel44 and Melbourne’s community TV as the last twostanding.
For around 15 years, Channel 44 has been coveringSouth Australian stories.
It has beenworking with our local academic institutions, and it has been a vital, active contributorin South Australia’s arts and entertainment sector.
This local station has acted as a launchpadfor many South Australian media workers.
Itworks with UniSA, Flinders Uni and various employment and training agencies, and currentlyprovides opportunities to gain experience in the screen industry, which does not existelsewhere in the state.
Particularly, for those students and graduates, this is a slap in the face.
It is an experiencethat is not offered anywhere else in South Australia, and those contracts with thoseinstitutions will be lost if Channel 44 is cut from the spectrum.
Channel 44 also has 140 internships annually, and it broadcasts 11 programs as part of its tertiary institution coursework.
This is all at absolutely minimal cost tothe taxpayer as community television is and always has been self-funded.
The partnerships that they gain and the trainingopportunities that they have forged are under threat without that free-to-air licence that, as I say, costs the federal government zilch and thatthere is no intended plan for in terms of the use of thespectrum.
Our community broadcaster, Channel 44, doesfine work, and it has weathered six years ofinstability caused by short and often last-minute extensions to their licence, which has allowedthem very little forward planning—the inabilityto know, from month to month, how much longer they willbe given, which means that they have not been able to forge some of the partnerships thatthey could if they were given that chance.
Channel 44, however, does work with Channel31 in Melbourne and Geelong, and it remains united and committed to ensuring that localstories continue to be told.
We need local stories morethan ever.
We need the community television programsthat air over 150 brand-new and locally produced shows across Australia in the lastyear alone.
Thirty-two of those shows came fromculturally and linguistically diverse program makers.
There were around 220 hours of Australianmade television, involving over 1, 000 volunteers on a weekly basis.
Among the Channel 44 offerings are programssuch as Adelaide Community Diary and FringeWatch.
Members who have been supporters or participantsin the Reclink Community Cup from year to year have featured, and the Hon.
Kyam Maher certainly has featured in thatparticular program.
They bring community to the fore and theyprovide those essential skills that our screen sector so needs.
FringeWatch was launched during the last AdelaideFringe—the 60th Adelaide Fringe—and it was an utterly awe-inspiring documentaryon the 60-year history of the Adelaide Fringe.
It was anenlightening record of the work of a grassroots collective that created their own opportunitiesand change to create an open access people’s festival, which I know that many members attend and arerightly proud of.
I had hoped, when launching this motion, tohave had a screening of that documentary, butI will send members a link, if I can achieve that in these COVID times, to perhaps watchthat documentary that is an utter Adelaide institutionthat we should be so proud of.
For some of thosewho do not quite remember the nineties as well as others, I was reminded of many thingsthat I had forgotten.
The talents of the Doug Anthony All Starsand the wonderful Fringes that I have attended, as no doubt other members of this place have, are all featured in that particular documentary.
It putsAdelaide on a world stage as well.
It is an outstanding piece of cinema.
No alternative use, however, has been plannedfor the spectrum that is occupied currently by Channel 44 and community television.
It simply beggars belief that the essentialinformation, the community solidarity and the training andopportunity that this channel provides should be written offon 30 June for no financial gain but for great public loss.
While Channel 44 continues to work towardsa digital platform with further availability of online content, the spectrum for communityTV should continue to see vibrant and diverse localcontent.
I encourage everyone in this place to takea look at Channel 44’s Facebook presence and website and to urge our federal colleaguesto keep local TV so that Channel 44 in Adelaide cancontinue to share their vision, continue to encourage local talent, continue to embraceinnovative ideas and provide that platform for the grassrootscontent—perhaps a little less of the Hon.
KyamMaher in the future in the Reclink Community Cup.
But I am sure those of you who have participatedin that particular event know just how important it is that these community events are notonly celebrated in person but are documented forperpetuity and, in particular in this online world, shared.