Tuesday 31 October 2017

Your Taxes at Work - Screen Australia discusses diversity issues - "You're off the hook now."

Editor's Note: This is the remainder of the recent discussion between Screen Australia head honcho Graeme Mason and Senators at the Senate Estimates Committee examination of the activities of the Department of Communications and the Arts. 
Senator URQUHART: In relation to diversity generally, what programs have been introduced and what steps have been taken to address the findings of the 2016 report Seeing ourselves: reflections on diversity in Australian TV drama?
Graeme Mason
Mr Mason : As you note, Senator, that report was commissioned by us, so that is our report which we did for the industry as a whole. We actually have been working with other people within the department, particularly the AFTRS, Australian Film Television and Radio School, to do a lot work in the diversity space. Key things—where we, again, are trying to change the paradigm—are that there aren't enough Australians being represented in front and behind camera, and we're changing the development process again. A particular thing of note would be a scheme we started called Developing the Developer where we literally got people from a range of different backgrounds, physical abilities, sexuality to ensure that they help people within their communities to create stories that reflect them.
Senator URQUHART: What have been the outcomes of those programs to date and what targets have been set?
Mr Mason : We don't have a hard target in that like we do in gender. At the moment, as I've said, what we're trying to do is work with the production sector. We are part of a group—which at the moment is chaired by Neil Peplow, who is the CEO of AFTRS—that has very broad endorsement from all the networks, the major production companies and ourselves. We're all on that body to try to continue that work. But, as I say, my colleague Mr Peplow is leading that on behalf of us.
Senator URQUHART: I've got one other question, but it has a lot of detail in terms of the number of applications received for different years ending. What I might do is put that on notice so that we can get a more detailed response.
Senator REYNOLDS: I think Senator Urquhart has stolen my thunder in this case. I want to offer my congratulations on the progress you're making. It's very good to see the very forward-leaning steps you're taking on this issue. So thank you—and thank you, Senator Urquhart, for the questions.

CHAIR: Thank you very much to both of you from Screen Australia. You're off the hook now.

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