'Mystery Road' season two. (Photo: David Dare Parker)

The ABC has outlined a new strategy to ensure diversity and inclusion across its programming, putting in place prescribed commissioning guidelines.

The guidelines focus on five key areas – gender representation, Indigenous Australians, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), living with a disability, and LGBTQI+ – and cover on-screen, off-screen, and career progression.

Speaking to IF last week, ABC director entertainment and specialist Michael Carrington said audiences were interested in the “diversity of who we are”.

“It’s a mood you can feel everywhere,” he said.

“Bringing diverse stories to life is something we are focusing on, in terms of developing new shows.

“We had a lot of success with Total Control, which really resonated with audiences -both on linear television, as well as on our digital platform ABC iview.”

Under the guidelines, producers will need to demonstrate how their content reflects authentic diversity and inclusion in its subject matter or cast, with productions about a specific diverse community or subject required to include at least one person who is representative of that diversity within the core creative team.

In scripted content, the ABC specifies at least one main cast member should be an Indigenous Australian, culturally and linguistically diverse, a person with disability or someone who identifies as LGBTQI+.

The presence of under-represented groups extends to senior production and key creative decision-making roles, including EP, series producer, producer, director, writer, lead DOP, lead editor, as well as production and crew positions.

Further 50 per cent of a production’s main cast and 50 per cent of the crew must be women or gender diverse.

In outlining the future career progression opportunities for diverse groups, the ABC says it “expects production companies to identify genuine career development opportunities for individuals from under-represented communities via existing attachment schemes, industry incentives or other innovative measures”.

The guidelines form part of the ABC’s Five-Year Plan 2020-25, while also aligning with its Elevate Reconciliation Plan 2019-22 and Diversity & Inclusion Plan 2019-22.

Click here to view the guidelines.

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1 Comment

  1. So one can assume that with (Quote) “producers will need to demonstrate how their content reflects authentic diversity and inclusion in its subject matter or cast, with productions about a specific diverse community or subject required to include at least one person who is representative of that diversity within the core creative team.”
    That’s an interesting take & how films should be made.. has the ABC actually ever heard of story telling & entertainment? Or at least remember it?
    The ABC are not really interested in good story telling first & foremost, but would rather restrict film makers artistic direction with pre concived ideals.. (false narratives & ideals on how life & ART should be, according to small minority groups) rather than than providing entertainment that the MAJORITY of people can enjoy & hopefully forget the everyday stresses of life, work etc. The reason people enjoy watching films is, to have a few hours excaping the everyday life & worries, pweople do not want to sit down to watch a film or series to be dictated to on how they should think.. I guess that’s why they call it TV “Programming” .
    Good luck with your new directive Aunty! But you are going to lose more & more viewers the longer you push this utter rubbish.. Cast your minds back to the day NETFLIX removed ep. 6 of Faulty Towers from their streaming services (The Germans episoed).. Millions of complaints & the very next day the episode was back on Netflix along with a public appology.. So easy for the majority of people to tune out of the ABC when there are so many fantastic TV series available from international film makers & there you are, running shows with preconceived diversities, directives & oppressed artistic freedom etc. ..why the hell would we sit & watch the garbage you hope to peddle us? We are not looking to be re-educated while watching TV shows! They want to be entertained FULL STOP!!.. Once your audience has gone, so will your government funding & goodbye ABC. You should probably wake up really soon before it’s too late for you!

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