Securing Public Funding to Support SBS Independence

PDF ⧉⭧

TO the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts


Securing Public Funding to Support SBS Independence

a submission

by Save Our SBS Inc

to the



31 August 2023


Table of Contents

Securing Public Funding to Support SBS Independence


Why Save Our SBS supports the Review Objectives

Serious risks are created by inaction

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SBS funding

Last October the federal government announced five-year funding for SBS. That begins on 1 July this year. Previously SBS was funded on a triennial basis.

In the budget handed down this week, existing short-term funding for key language services and audio description will continue into base government funding.

A spokesperson for SBS said:

SBS welcomes the continuity and stability which the five-year funding model provides, ensuring that we are able to keep delivering our vital services for all Australians and especially multilingual and First Nations communities.

The parliament appropriated to SBS $316.8m this year up to 30 June.

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SBS to be funded 5-yearly

The Albanese Labor Government confirmed it will deliver 5-year funding terms for Australia’s national broadcasters, SBS and the ABC, commencing 1 July 2023.

Communications Minister, Michelle Rowland, said that moving those broadcasters beyond 3-year funding terms will better safeguard the independence of the national broadcasters, as well as support long-term strategic planning and innovation in high-quality content provision and service delivery, across Australia.

Save Our SBS president, Steve Aujard, welcomed the change from 3-year to 5-year funding for SBS.

Meanwhile a spokesperson for SBS said that SBS welcomes the announcement from the Federal Government as

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SBS: Connecting with the Oldest Continuing Culture

SBS has released its fifth Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), updating SBS commitment to First Nations content for the next four years.

The broadcaster has worked closely with Reconciliation Australia to continue its commitment to First Nations stories, cultures and languages. Reconciliation Australia is the lead body for reconciliation in Australia, promoting relationship-building and respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider Australian community.

RAP recognises organisations with a proven track record in championing the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Of the twenty

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Uluru Statement from the Heart translated by SBS into more than 20 Aboriginal languages and 60+ other languages

SBS has translated the Uluru Statement from the Heart into more than 20 Aboriginal languages and another 60+ languages for Australia’s Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities.

In his victory speech as Australia’s 31st Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese not only started by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land but went a step further and confirmed the Labor Party’s commitment to the implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Albanese said:

I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet … I pay my respects to their elders past, present and

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SBS continues to alienate and betray its audience

This was first published by Pearls and Irritations on 12 January 2022. The full text is presented here as written by Save Our SBS president Steve Aujard.

It was Brian Johns, then Special Broadcasting Service managing director, who in 1987 came up with the idea of supplementing SBS’s taxpayer subsidy by broadcasting ads between TV programs.

“I hope I haven’t created a monster,” he told me during an interview over coffee on 6 February 2013 at Cafe Cavallino in Carlton.

Johns, whose long career in journalism and media included stints as chairman of

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Easy English news

SBS have a daily news bulletin for new English speakers – SBS News in Easy English. It is a great initiative.

Bulletins of SBS News in Easy English are read slowly using simplified language and run five minutes.

Content mostly focuses on Australian news and the text of each bulletin is available on the web, app, or whatever plateform is used to listen.

The idea of news in easy English is not new. In radio’s hey-day, all the big broadcasters ran ‘news in simple

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The results are of the THREE QUESTION POLL are in.

► There are too many ads and promos on SBS.

Agree: 97.91% Disagree: 2.09% Total Votes : 6753

► SBS has too many commercial breaks disrupting programs.

Agree: 97.78% Disagree: 2.22% Total Votes : 6664

► Most in-program commercial breaks on SBS look forced or artificially contrived, and it would be misleading to describe them as natural program breaks.

Agree: 95.37% Disagree: 4.63% Total Votes : 6632

The poll was open to anyone and everyone. Only one vote per

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SBS hour logged with 50 percent more ads than allowed

SBS appears to have 50 percent more advertising in some primetime hours than the SBS Act permits according to a series of findings carried out by Save Our SBS from 2009 to 2020.

Promos were not counted. Nor were classification announcements, community service announcements, sponsor billboards and sponsored promos.

Under section 45* of the Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991 advertising is limited to “not more than 5 minutes in any hour of broadcasting”. Promos do not count as an advertisement and the Act excludes them from counting in the 5 minute hourly

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Poll: overwhelming support for fully-funded multicultural, multiethnic, and Indigenous programs for children on SBS but with advertising restrictions

An overwhelming majority of SBS viewers want the broadcaster to present programs for children provided those programs are fully-funded, without advertising or reliance on advertising.

A total of 3,981 viewers were polled in two separate polls – one on Facebook, the other on Save Our SBS – in which participants were asked separate questions about multicultural, multiethnic, and Indigenous programs for children.

The questions and findings of the Two question poll on were:-

SBS is not currently required to carry programs for

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Two question poll: SBS children’s TV

A government initiated Options paper proposes SBS be obligated to broadcast or stream a quota of children’s TV. We’d like to hear your views.

Take the TWO question poll below and leave a comment below that too.

SBS is not currently required to carry programs for children but if it were, do you agree or disagree that——

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Australian content and children’s TV on SBS – a submission to the Supporting Australian stories on our screens—Options paper

Earlier this year, a government initiated Options paper authored by the Australian Communications and Media Authority with Screen Australia considered how best to support Australian stories on-screen generally, and proposed SBS carry a quota of children’s content. The communications department then asked stakeholders to comment on the options in the paper. Below is the submission that Save Our SBS made in respect of that.

To enable Save Our SBS to  continue our work of excellence in the public good, please donate

Save Our SBS Inc

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The economic reason to remove in-program advertising on SBS

Apart from ease of viewing, there are many reasons to shift advertising away from programs on SBS but until now, the economic benefits have not been explored.

SBS aims to inspire “inclusivity and social cohesion.” That’s what drives the broadcaster and this aim is articulated in its Corporate Plans, underpinned by its Charter.

Despite SBS’s aims, The Scanlon-Monash Index of Social Cohesion 2007‑2018 shows that social cohesion has been falling in Australia since 2007. The Index parallels the period

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SBS & friends say ‘fully-fund Australian content on SBS’ senate committee told

This year, the Senate’s communications committee has been inquiring into the economic and cultural value of Australian content on our media services.

Written submissions to the committee from SBS and Save Our SBS put the case for set quotas of Australian content saying it ought to be fully-funded. Save Our SBS argued that if content were fully-funded, there would be no point in SBS carrying advertisements. To stay faithful to its Charter, Save Our SBS said that SBS needs to present more programs in languages other than English, and that could be done

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