Senate debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Statements by Senators

Local Content Broadcasting

1:45 pm

Photo of Catryna BilykCatryna Bilyk (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

It's always a pleasure to follow Senator Scarr, who always enjoys the pleasure of following Senator Sterle, but can I say that I am not as theatrical as Senator Scarr. Australia's new national cultural policy, Revive, commits the Australian government to regulating content on video-on-demand streaming platforms. We have local content rules for broadcast and cable TV, but Australians are increasingly turning to video-on-demand services for their entertainment, where no such rules apply.

Local content rules are important for jobs in our local screen production industry, particularly when it is competing against industries and countries that protect their own local content, but local content rules are about so much more than that. They are also about telling Australian stories to Australian audiences so we can celebrate and preserve our cultural and national identity. I'm a big fan of shows like Mystery Road and, wait for it, Bluey and I want to see more content that reflects the culture and society I live in. Having local content rules for streaming services will bring Australia into line with the EU, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal and Poland. The new local content rules will start on 1 July next year.

We need to make decisions on questions such as the design of the scheme, what defines a video-on-demand streaming service and what types of investment are acceptable in meeting Australian content obligations. To inform these decisions, we are consulting with the streaming industry and other stakeholders. Submissions on this consultation close on 24 April, and the details are on the website of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts. I encourage anyone with an interest in the scheme to get involved. I'm proud to be part of a government that is moving forward with ensuring that we maintain a strong local screen production industry, and that Australian stories can continue to be told to Australian audiences.