FABC-WA held a very successful forum with guest speaker ABC Board member Professor Fiona Stanley at the Palms Community Centre in Subiaco on Thursday, 6th. September. Over 100 FABC members and interested public attended. Professor Stanley spoke about how keen she was, as an avid consumer of the ABC (especially Radio National), to join the ABC Board; how critical the ABC was to the democratic process in Australia; the importance of Australia Network to our region of the world; and how “bias was in the eye of the beholder”. Topics raised during the Q&A session included the loss of TV production capacity at the Perth branch (& other smaller state branches), leading to the departure of highly-skilled long-serving staffers AND the next generation of young program-makers; the paucity of coverage of WA issues on the ABC generally as exemplified by the rare appearance of expert comment from this state and exacerbated by incorrect pronunciations of WA place names. Another issue raised was the likely loss of ABC coverage of the WA Football League, the future of which is still not known. This loss would reduce TV production capability to below critical mass. Feedback from staff of feeling disempowered and undervalued was also mentioned. WA State Director Geoff Duncan attended the event and responded to some of these concerns, in the case of the WAFL, pointing to low ratings and the ABC’s policy to concentrate on women’s sport and the Paralympics.
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