Go to top of page

Inspired Communities

For more than 45 years, SBS has played a vital role in informing and shaping Australia, not only meeting the needs of multicultural communities and First Nations people, but helping all Australians explore and celebrate Australia’s diversity. In 2019-20 SBS continued to strengthen its connection to communities – central to its trusted position with audiences – through a range of partnerships, initiatives and ongoing engagement activities.

In 2019-20, through partnerships and engagement initiatives, SBS connected directly with communities and extended its exploration of national issues including social inclusion, homelessness and regional disadvantage, disability, digital safety, gender equality and the celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

SBS’s engagement with communities was transformed by the advent of COVID-19, as the organisation sought new ways to connect with stakeholders and to ensure its services remained relevant and valuable, particularly during this critical time. Supporting partners, communities and charities affected by the crisis, and connecting communities and stakeholders across Australia with vital information available via the SBS Multilingual Coronavirus portal and SBS News, dominated activity in the first half of 2020. As Australians were separated due to physical distancing and travel restrictions, SBS demonstrated to communities its important role in fostering greater inclusion and connectedness through its content, services and activities.

SBS: Meet the Broadcaster series

In 2019 the SBS: Meet the Broadcaster event series brought together creative, community and government stakeholders across Australia, to hear about SBS content, services and strategies.

The SBS leadership team, including members of the Board and executive, travelled to Darwin, Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart, Perth and Sydney to connect with stakeholders. The series was attended by over 500 production partners, funding bodies and creatives, and community representatives, multicultural bodies, SBS and NITV partners, peak community groups, and political representatives from the local, state and federal level.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with a post-event survey demonstrating the value of the Q&A sessions to stakeholders, along with the opportunity to meet the team and learn about ways for the community to engage with SBS and share stories that often go unheard. Attendees were asked to list three words they would use to describe SBS. “Diverse” appeared the most across the survey results, followed by “inclusive”, “informative”, “multicultural”, “innovative” and “entertaining”.

Economic benefits of social inclusion

In August 2019, SBS launched a report it commissioned from Deloitte Access Economics, examining the positive economic outcomes of improving social inclusion in Australia.

The report provided new quantitative modelling, data and analysis, demonstrating that an annual $12.7 billion economic dividend can be generated from improvements across five areas of inclusion: workplace productivity, employment outcomes, mental and physical health, the cost of social services and inclusive growth.

The research supports SBS’s purpose and content strategies, and reinforces the importance of its commitment to the SBS Charter to positively influence social inclusion.

SBS Outreach

SBS Outreach extends the reach and impact of SBS content through initiatives designed to engage communities, as well as meaningful collaborations with educational institutions that aim to support further learning and inspirational education resources that bring SBS into the classroom.

In October 2019, SBS Outreach developed materials to support the third season of Struggle Street, with partners including The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health & Substance Use at the University of Sydney, Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW, and Charles Sturt University (Wagga Wagga campus). Exploring themes from the series, these materials focused on the realities of living on the land and drew attention to mental health issues for rural communities and the hidden impacts of the drought.

The Outreach team also worked with corporate partners to deliver a screening and panel discussion in June 2020 about lived-experiences of homelessness as part of the third season of Filthy Rich & Homeless.

SBS Learn

SBS Learn is the education function of SBS, dedicated to providing students and teachers around Australia with educational resources linked to SBS documentaries, drama series, news and current affairs and other network productions. Resources are developed in accordance with the Australian schools’ curriculum.

In 2019-20, there were more than 28,8oo1 downloads of SBS Learn resources. In addition, over 17,500 printed resources were distributed to school, tertiary education and community contacts during the year.

In 2019, SBS Learn, in partnership with the eSafety Commissioner, created teacher resources to support acclaimed drama series, The Hunting. These resources, which dealt with complex matters relating to online safety for teens, have gone on to be the most popular on the SBS Learn platform and were praised by parents, teens, advocates and teachers.

SBS Learn is also the official education partner for NAIDOC Week, and delivered teaching resources in 2019, created by Indigenous curriculum writers in partnership with the National NAIDOC Committee. Feedback on the 2019 resources celebrated SBS’s delivery of a resource that any teacher, regardless of their level of knowledge of NAIDOC or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, could use year-round in their classrooms.

Everyone’s Game classroom resource was produced by SBS Learn in partnership with SBS Sport to celebrate diversity and women’s football through classroom activities inspired by the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™. The resource brought the event into classrooms nationally to celebrate Australia’s multicultural diversity, through the inspirational world game of football. This material was widely distributed and was designed to be adapted according to different teaching styles.

Other SBS Learn resources included The Game Changers, promoting excellence and inclusion in sport (in partnership with Sport Inclusion Australia) to celebrate INAS Global Games 2019, and First Gear, produced independently by SBS in partnership with ŠKODA and supported by Cycling Victoria and Australian Schools Plus, to celebrate the Tour de France and foster healthy, sustainable lifestyle choices connected to exercise and cycling.

The SBS Learn website had a digital overhaul in 2020, ensuring that SBS’s renowned education resources are more accessible and easier to integrate into classrooms.


  1. Information taken from Adobe Analytics, SBS Learn dashboard for period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, retrieved 1 July 2020.