Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity
Government decides future for Australia Network
The Gillard Government has made a policy decision that ensures the Australia Network becomes a permanent feature of the ABC.
The Government was hoping that the tender process for the Australia Network would have been completed in good faith. However, several leaks have compromised the process and prevented a fair consideration of the bids.
The Government believes it is unfortunate that this process did not reach a satisfactory solution, however, in light of the circumstances it is now in the national interest to make a clear decision about the future of the service rather than allowing uncertainty to continue.
Having reflected upon the process to date, and what the service really needs to provide, the Government has determined that Australia's international broadcasting service should be delivered by the national broadcaster.
The Australia Network is a major public diplomacy platform, and, as is the case with comparable operators such as the UK's BBC World Service and Germany's Deutsche Welle, the Government believes the service should be provided by Australia's national broadcaster, the ABC.
The decision provides certainty for the future and allows the ABC to get on with the job of delivering an outstanding international broadcasting service for Australia.
The ABC has been performing well in the role and the Government believes that the national broadcaster will maintain and further enhance the Australia Network in the years ahead.
The Government also believes that the ABC is well placed to explore the opportunity to combine the Australia Network with its current international radio service, Radio Australia, and potentially with new online services to provide a multi-platform international media operation to embrace the converged media era.
Date: 5 December 2011
Contact: Lyall Johnson: 0408 258 457