ABC's new diversity and inclusion commissioning guidelines  

[by Peter Munroe]


Image: supplied

The ABC has released new commissioning guidelines to ensure more diverse faces, voices, cultures and stories are reflected and represented on Australian screens.


The ABC’s Diversity and Inclusion Commissioning Guidelines – Screen Content will deliver outstanding content to audiences by requiring production companies to provide greater access and opportunity to under-represented people and perspectives – on and off screen – including gender diversity, Indigenous Australians, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people living with a disability and the LGBTQI+ community.


The guidelines build on the ABC’s commitment under its Charter to reflect the cultural diversity of the Australian community, as exemplified by programs such as Total Control, Love on the Spectrum and First Day. The guidelines, which cover content commissioned across genres such as drama, comedy, children’s, factual and entertainment programs, will enrich the public broadcaster’s content by giving a platform to different voices, subjects and talent.  


Michael Carrington, ABC Director Entertainment & Specialist, said: “Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of everything we do at the ABC. As a public broadcaster, we must reflect the audience we are serving and a broad range of perspectives, people and stories makes us stronger, more creative and better able to engage with and reflect the Australian community.


“While we already prioritise diversity and inclusion at the ABC, this is the first time we have prescribed guidelines to track progress towards our goal of looking and sounding like contemporary Australia. We’ve already taken steps in this direction but we need to do more to better reflect the wonderful diversity of this nation in an authentic way.


“The ABC’s new guidelines, alongside industry-wide initiatives through screen agencies and the Screen Diversity Inclusion Network, will help bring new voices, cultures and perspectives to audiences. We will work with our production partners to make the industry a more inclusive workspace, by opening the doors to diverse creative talent, on and off screen.”


The principle of “nothing about us without us” is key, ensuring that all productions about a specific diverse community or subject must include at least one person who is representative of that diversity within the core creative team.

The guidelines form part of the ABC’s commitment under its Five-Year Plan 2020-25 to look and sound like contemporary Australia. The guidelines also support and reflect the ABC’s Elevate Reconciliation Plan 2019-22 and Diversity & Inclusion Plan 2019-22.


Under the guidelines, producers will need to demonstrate how their content reflects authentic diversity and inclusion in its subject matter or cast, as well as diversity in key creative, production and crew roles. The guidelines also set out a framework for creating practical and meaningful opportunities for under-represented groups to advance their careers.


Click here to read the ABC’s Diversity and Inclusion Commissioning Guidelines – Screen Content.


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