So what is happening with Australia Network?

So what is happening with Australia Network?

As part of the Federal Government’s 2014 Budget, it was announced that the ABC’s $223 million 10-year contract to run the Australia Network, which is beamed into 44 nations across the Asia-Pacific region, would be cut.

News services, such as Channel 9 News, reported on 5 June that the service would finish on 18 September – just two weeks prior to the 2014 AFL Grand Final.

Australia Business Asia (ABA), which comprises 17 Australian Business Groups from around the Asian region, is seeking further information from the ABC. Some of the member business groups have noted that news reports have referred purely to the funding from the Government being cut. Yet, part of the ABC’s charter is that it still needs to push out into Asia. There has been some chatter that Australia Network may continue if the ABC can find some funding from within its existing budget.

Separately, AFL Asia has sought comment from the ABC and the AFL.

An unofficial source from within the AFL has said that “there are options being considered for the Grand Final broadcast into Asia. I understand one of them is Australia Network continuing in another form”.

Another unofficial source, this time from within the ABC, has said that “Within the ABC there’s little clarity on this – DFAT ‘s chief recently said that it will be off air by September 18.

“Internally we haven’t heard a specific date but, either way, it looks like Australia Network will be off air at some point in the coming months.

“I highly doubt they’ll continue the service. What they’re talking about is using other ABC funding to cover Asia-related news, but for a domestic audience. However, the charter says we have to do some international broadcasting. Dunno if that means web streaming or radio… all options on the table it seems.”

The price of Australia Network’s service

What is the price of:

* Providing Australia Network’s service each year for 10 years? AUD23.3million (compared with other services in 2010: “US $717 million, France $420 million, the UK $415 million, Japan $215 million. It’s hard to get figures for China but spending is believed to be eye-watering.”

* Education for international students studying in Australia? AUD14 billion to Australia per annum.

* AFL Asia’s network of professionals living and working in the region alongside locals in government, business, NGOs and charities, together with Australia Network, helping to spread Australia’s message? Priceless.

* These figures in USD were cited by in an article on 3 February 2014 titled, Australia Network: diplomatic weapon or just AFL for expats?

On a separate note, the Crikey headline is disappointing as it pedals a stereotype that encourages lazy thinking which squanders an opportunity. Australia Network should be building on and reinforcing the pre existing network fostered and developed by Australians living and working in the region. So, a better headline may have been: “Australia Network: diplomatic weapon strengthened by working with AFL Asia’s network of business professionals living and working in the region (as well as Australia Business Asia, Australia Education International, Australian Tourism Commission, Austrade etc).

As soon as AFL Asia hears of anything concrete about the future of AFL Asia, we shall advise accordingly.

2 Responses to “Future of Australia Network still clouded in mystery it seems”

  1. Dale Purcell says:

    I would think 23 mill is money well spent considering the number of countries getting the broadcast. I have taught English in Vietnam and the kids here love watching AFL . They also have began watching our News and current affairs programmes . In Vung Tau they have games of AFL between regional sides. They’ve also had a side come from Laos to play . There is no way that kind of exposure could be achieved without the broadcast of games. I know of family’s here that look forward to the double header broadcasts. They like the game more than soccer. Could you imagine the benefits to Australia if AFL “took off” in Asia. It can happen. It’s a global community now, what’s Australasia supposed to mean ?? The bean counters must have forgotten that, or they’ve never been beyond their own backyard.

  2. Keven Harris says:

    Personally write to PM seeking anothe look at tis he passed it onto Malcom Turnbull wha so far after some8 weeks has not responded. Th government will allocate some 500M to a corruption filled PNG and tet cannot afford 105M in child care and some 23+M for the Australia Network!!
    It’s time the ABC management showed some gut strength and stood up to these government bullies.
    Also, it’s time for all good men to come to the aid of this party (not)
    Come on 7,9, 10, Siuthern Cross, Packer, Murdoch it’s time AND THERE IS STILL TIME to put your hands in your pockets and bail this network out of the mess this stupid disgraceful decision To cease transmission has left it in and with no regard to the hundreds of thousands of Aussies who for whatever reason find themselves living out of the country!
    Keven Harris

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