POLITICS

Are You Thinking What They Are Thinking About Australian Content On Kids TV?

It could be in trouble.

27/04/2017 5:23 AM AEST | Updated 27/04/2017 5:29 AM AEST
Bananas in Pyjamas Facebook
Bananas in Pyjamas ceased production in 2013. Will many other Australian kids TV programs also be under threat?

CANBERRA -- Move over Peppa and Dora, a rescue from Paw Patrol may be needed.

Australian storytelling in children's television is in serious trouble -- a fight for life even, according to the Greens, so the party is launching a campaign on Thursday called #SaveKidsTV.

Greens arts spokeswoman, Sarah Hanson-Young, has told HuffPost Australia there is now no guarantee there will be a "Dance Academy" or "Little J and Big Cuz" of tomorrow.

"Kids television in Australia is in a fight for its life right now," the Senator and childhood fan of Round the Twist said.

"There is a push from the older more traditional commercial television broadcasters who basically want to put kids TV in the too hard basket."

Amid the soaring rise of on demand and streaming competitors, the free-to-air TV broadcasters -- Seven West Media, Nine Entertainment and Network Ten -- are leaning on the Turnbull Government to review, and even dump, rules that mandate a quota of locally produced children's programs.

Their argument, made in submissions to a Senate arts inquiry into the Australian film and TV industry - is they are simply not making money on such programs as kids are going elsewhere.

It is currently mandated that the commercial free-to-air broadcasters to show 260 hours of children's material and 130 hours of pre-school material each year.

Within that, commercial TV must broadcast 25 hours of first release Australian children's drama programs each year and 96 hours in each three-year period.

The commercial free-to-air broadcasters also want their licence fees reduced.

TV is very, very expensive to make, but Hanson-Young said that is no excuse for big TV companies.

"I think it is a slap in the face to audiences," she said "I think it is a slap in the face to Australian parents, many of whom, of my generation at least, who grew up with good quality children's television programs."

"We are now having our own kids and we want them to experience that very special cultural and national story telling and making sense of the world. And we have got commercial broadcasters saying it is all too hard."

The South Australian senator said her fight is for Australian identity.

"Every culture, every nation needs to tell their own stories," Hanson-Young said.

"I am very concerned that this is going to mean children's television really gets pushed down the level in terms of what broadcasters will fund, what screen producers will fund.

"That is all going to be thrown out the window if we don't have proper intervention that supports funding and the production of good quality children's television."

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has made no decision on the children's television quota. The Senate inquiry was only launched in February.

The Greens are joined in the #SaveKidsTV campaign by the Australian Children's Television Foundation and the Screen Producers Australia.

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