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Dean Barton-Smith's response to ABC SBS Review
The formatting of this submission may have been altered due to the processing required for publication on the Department's website.
I hereby write to provide my personal submission to the ABC SBS Review and, with over 40 years experience, I offer the following comments:
- I am of the opinion that the scope of the Social Inclusion and Diversity issues covered in Section 5 of the discussion paper are too narrow. The discussions on social inclusion in programming need to reflect a broader diversity perspective, including for people with disability.
- There are strong demographic arguments that at least four million Australians have a disability - more than 1 in 5 Australians. There are at least 2.2 million Australians of working age (15-64yrs) who have a disability and the trend is growing as population ages. There is also a steep rise in, but not limited to, reported mental illness.
- Australians with a disability in valued roles are largely missing from the cultural and media landscape and this stands in stark contrast to the position in UK, Canada and England where there are distinctive opportunities in public broadcasting such as the BBC's Ouch site. We need mainstream inclusion in drama, news, arts, sport and online content in ABC and SBS.
- There is a strong business case for doing more in order to position Australia in line with the rest of the world - we know that community attitudes on disability are poor and that this is having negative effects on employment and social inclusion.
- Issues of access to technology are also important, extension of captioning is supported and current provision is not meeting demand. In one of his speeches, Parlimentary Secretary Bill Shorten indicated (and confirmed) that Australia falls well behind with the rest of the world in terms of disability access including social inclusion.
This review is Australia's unqiue opportunity to reposition itself so to prepare for the future demands and needs of many Australians who have a disability as well as bring it in line with social inclusion policies within Government today.
I trust my submission is received and incorporated within the review and look forward to further progress in this regards