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The ABC considers diversity a strategic priority. As the national broadcaster, the ABC has a responsibility to reach all Australians, and its key aim is to reflect the rich diversity and perspectives of Australia’s many communities, from Indigenous Australians through to new and emerging communities. In line with the ABC’s Charter, the Corporation strives to provide broadcasting programs that contribute to a sense of national identity and reflect the cultural diversity of the Australian community.

Diversity & Inclusion Plan

The ABC is required by the Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987 (the EEO Act) to develop a program designed to eliminate discrimination and promote equal opportunity for women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people from a non-English speaking background, and people with disabilities.

The Diversity & Inclusion Plan 2019-22 provides a strategic roadmap to guide the ABC in developing an inclusive culture throughout the Corporation. The plan sets out the ABC's vision for diversity and inclusion and is centred around three goals:

  • recruiting, developing, and retaining a diverse workforce
  • fostering an inclusive, collaborative, and accountable workplace culture
  • reflecting and representing the diversity of the Australian community in the content and the services the ABC provides.

The ABC has set itself the following workforce targets under the plan, which it aims to reach by September 2022:

  1. 15% Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) content makers
  2. 15% CALD executives
  3. 8% employees with disability
  4. 20% women technologists
  5. 50% women executives
  6. 3.6% Indigenous employees

Diversity & Inclusion Standing Committee (DISC)

The Diversity and Inclusion Standing Committee (DISC) supports and makes recommendations on diversity and inclusion matters to the ABC Leadership Team. Members of the DISC are senior representatives of ABC divisions (who lead their divisions in implementing the plan), the Chair-people of the ABC’s Employee Network Groups and the Chair of the Bonner Committee. The meetings are co-chaired by two members of the Leadership Team.

The work of the DISC highlights the importance of diversity and inclusion as a strategic priority for the ABC and helps to prioritise diversity at the highest level of the Corporation. The DISC ensures a coordinated ABC-wide approach to improving diversity and inclusion outcomes.

The DISC also inputs into the development of the Diversity & Inclusion Plan, shares best practice, and identifies solutions where needed.

Media cadetships

The Media Cadetship program launched in 2018 was aimed at under-represented groups in the media industry and was designed to help talent overcome traditional barriers to entering the industry. A successful program was held in 2018-19 which saw cadets contribute to ABC content making through a range of activities including writing articles, recording interviews, and assisting with TV recordings.

The program was reviewed as a part of a comprehensive review into the ABC’s entry level programs in 2019-20, and is proposed to be relaunched in 2020-21.

Indigenous employment

The Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan 2019-2022 (RAP) strengthens the ABC’s commitment to Indigenous content across its platforms, and continues to support employment and business opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and organisations in order to build closer relationships with Indigenous communities.

The RAP includes specific actions relating directly to Indigenous employment. These include:

  • ensuring all ABC divisions develop an action plan for reaching Indigenous employment and other RAP targets
  • ensuring the proportion of Indigenous staff is at least as high as the proportion of the Australian Indigenous population; the ABC’s Indigenous employment target for 2022 is 3.6%
  • increasing the number of Indigenous employees in content making, editorial and management decision making roles at senior levels
  • encouraging awareness of potential careers at the ABC and in the wider media sector among secondary and tertiary students
  • career development planning and support opportunities for Indigenous employees
  • maximising the retention of Indigenous employees
  • contributing to the growth of Indigenous employment in the wider media industry
  • increasing opportunities for Indigenous suppliers to work with the ABC.

Apart from its employment objectives, the RAP also includes a new commitment to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, voices, and names within the ABC’s programs, so this may become a part of the vocabulary of the nation.

The Bonner Committee is the ABC’s primary advisory body on issues relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, content, and communities. It is also responsible for monitoring progress against the RAP. Its members are a mix of Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff drawn from around the country. The Chair reports to the Managing Director on matters arising from the Committee’s work.

Gender profile

In 2019-20, the ABC sustained a gender balanced workforce and leadership teams.

53.3% of ABC employees were women as at 30 June 2020, compared with 52.9% as at 30 June 2019. In executive roles, 50.7% were occupied by women as at 30 June 2020 compared with 48.9% as at 30 June 2019.

Key elements of the ABC’s gender equality strategy as contained in the Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2019-22 are as follows:

  • The ABC is committed to 20% representation of women in technologist roles and 50% representation of women in executive roles.
  • The ABC is committed to the development and progression of women and men in under-represented roles.
  • The ABC is committed to identifying and addressing any gender pay equity gaps and has committed to carry out regular gender pay equity analysis. The regular assessment of gender pay information will allow us to identify any pay gaps and implement strategies to address them.

The ABC embraced International Women’s Day in March 2020 by showcasing female broadcasters leading up to and throughout the day. Highlights included an all-female line-up across capital city Local Radio, ABC Classic and RN, as well as 24 hours of songs, stories, and discussions from female artists and presenters on triple j, Double J and triple j Unearthed.

Other diversity initiatives

The ABC’s Employee Network Groups were established in 2019-20 and now meet regularly.

A suite of diversity training packages were created and promoted across the organisation. These packages included:

  • cultural awareness training
  • disability awareness training
  • LGBTQI+ awareness training.

ABC Pride celebrated a number LGBTQI+ events across the year including Mardi Gras, IDAHOBIT and Trans Visibility Day. ABC Pride organised an ABC Mardi Gras float for the first time, and in the content space a new Instagram account was launched - ABC Queer.

The ABC was awarded a Bronze status in the 2020 Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) LGBTIQ+ Inclusion Awards, recognising the ABC's achievements in substantially increasing the visibility of people of diverse sexualities and genders.

ABC Belong, an employee network group supporting cultural diversity in the workplace, was launched in 2019. The group have organised a celebration for Lunar New Year, and have assisted the Indigenous, Diversity and Inclusion team in developing a video for Harmony Day as well as preparing an event to mark the occasion.

The ABC Disability Network – ABC Inclusive – was established and is chaired by prominent ABC reporter and accessibility advocate Nastasia (Nas) Campanella.

A calendar of significant diversity days was established, with several events to celebrate diversity planned. These included:

  • the launch of the Elevate RAP Indigenous employment
  • the launch of the Diversity and Inclusion Plan (tied to the Slate launch and Content Plan)
  • a panel event featuring content makers with disability, to mark the International Day for People with Disability
  • a joint ABC/SBS Pride Panel
  • an event to celebrate Harmony Day.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, unfortunately the Harmony Day event did not proceed.

Full details of the ABC's performance in relation to diversity in 2019-20 will be available in the ABC Diversity & Inclusion Report 2020.