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A new era in indigenous broadcasting

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The Hon. Robert Tickner, MP


25 January 1996

A new era in Indigenous broadcasting

A new era in indigenous broadcasting began today with the launch by Federal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Minister, Robert Tickner, of the National Indigenous Radio Service and 'Our Story, Our Voice': a series of twelve radio documentaries by and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Mr Tickner said that as a result of $2 million in funding announced in the Prime Minister's Innovations Statement, the first stage of the National Indigenous Radio Service will link programming from 17 indigenous radio stations and for the networked programming to be received by up to 131 radio stations, giving it a potential national reach second only to that of the ABC.

"As well as accessing the newly established national indigenous news service, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will now be able to exchange information about local events and government services and have programs they have produced heard around Australia."

Over the next financial year the Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association plans to link almost all of the 30 BRACS community broadcasters in their existing network and these stations will be able to transmit and receive back their programs for national broadcasting.

"In addition, the new network has the potential to make formal links with Maori broadcasting stations in New Zealand about the sharing and exchange of programs which reflect the common aspirations of indigenous people *om both countries."

Mr Tickner said that the new network would also provide a cost effective way to improve the limited access that indigenous Australians have to a range of mainstream services. The broadcasting of this community service information will help increase indigenous people's knowledge of and about Commonwealth, State and Territory programs established to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

"But the network is an essential service in its own right. It will give a major boost to reconciliation and has the capacity to economically and effectively deliver a vast range of Government, statutory authority and non-Government services and information to indigenous communities.

Mr Tickner said that the new network would enable programs such as the 'Our Story Our Voice' series to reach a far wider audience.

'Our Story Our Voice' was commissioned by the International Year for Tolerance Secretariat in 1995 and comprises twelve documentaries produced

by a variety of indigenous media organisations, producers and trainees from around the country. The programs all explore the themes of tolerance and discuss issues such as Aboriginal identity, the central role of women in communities, life in prison and the multicultural nature of indigenous communities.

The radio documentary project includes the first radio documentary recorded entirely in Pitjantjatjara and other Western Desert dialects.

Mr Tickner said that the two projects were important examples signifying the strengthening presence by Australia's indigenous communities in the field of broadcasting and communications.

"The development and application of broadcasting skills and technology can help keep indigenous cultures alive and provide a way of letting the wider community know about the significant place of indigenous Australians in our nation's cultural, economic and spiritual development," Mr Tickner said.

Media contact:

Gary Highland 02 545 0398 (office) 018 628 430