The CBAA's submission to the CBF's Review consultation paper


In its role as the lead sector organisation for community broadcasting, the CBAA welcomed the recent opportunity to comment regarding the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF)'s review of its structure and governance. The CBAA submitted a response to the CBF's June 2015 consultation paper. A summary is below and the full submission is available to download PDF icon here.pdf

The CBAA's position on the CBF Review

The CBAA Board is cooperating with the CBF review process and considers the review as a constructive step in ensuring that the CBF can deliver on its mission and support the community broadcasting sector well into the future. Here are some reasons why:

  • The CBF has the right and responsibility to review its practices. Governance arrangements put in place 30 years ago – even 10 years ago – are unlikely to still be considered best practice today. For instance, in 2015 all organisations would be expected to have within their governance systems greater representation from women, different cultural backgrounds, different abilities, ages, professions and so on. Research shows that organisations perform better when their leadership is more diverse. 
  • The CBF has a right to propose changes. The world is changing extremely rapidly – particularly in the communications and technological sectors. The video shop has vanished. Bookshops have diminished. Newspapers are dying. Radio too will change. The CBF is looking at what it needs to do to modernise so it can remain relevant. At the CBAA we also know this is no time to stick our head in the sand – we need to be out there in the forefront of every discussion that affects us and to be informed and across the detail to argue to case for and against elements of the CBF’s proposed changes. 
  • The sector, including the CBAA, other SRO’s and a group of very experienced community broadcasters recommended some years ago that the CBF should undertake a review of its structure and governance as a key element of its 2013-17 Strategic Plan.

The CBAA's position on the CBF's proposed changes

While the CBAA Board supports aspects of the proposed changes, and is pleased that a significant portion of our early feedback has been accepted, it does not support the changes in their entirety. Some key considerations from the CBAA's latest submission include:

  • It is essential that the CBF continues to focus on funding and, while there are overlaps, its role must not extend to initiating projects, project management nor to commentary, analysis or recommendations about broader sector or industry strategy issues.
  • The CBAA supports the guiding principles that have helped the CBF in considering changes to its governance and structure.
  • The CBAA is yet to hear a solid argument for the proposed changes to funding (ethnic program funding in particular) and believe that, in the absence of an extensive consultation process backed by sound reasoning, they should not go ahead at this time.
  • The CBAA does not support the proposal that independent, incorporated not-for-profit organisations may be able to apply for CBF funding to produce content for community broadcasting. Funding should only be provided to licensed broadcasters and appropriate Sector Representative Organisations.
  • Whilst there are many examples of successful Boards in the not-for-profit sector where outgoing Directors appoint incoming Directors, the CBAA cannot support that model in this circumstance and instead recommends an appointment process utilising a nominations committee.
  • The CBAA does not believe that the time provided by the CBF has given SROs, in particular, the time and opportunity to effectively consult with their members stations and provide further feedback.

Detailed responses to 15 key questions are provided in the PDF icon full submission.pdf, which covers:

  • Funding allocations from Government and other sources
  • Grant categories and funding distribution
  • Grants Advisory Committees (GACs) and grant assessment
  • The CBF Board composition and election mechanisms
  • Outcome-based reporting

Further information on the CBAA's involvement in this process is available here. If you have any further questions, please call the CBAA on (02) 9310 2999 or contact us via email.