South Australians should welcome the conclusion of a new TV deal that will keep local football on our TV screens, and back the broadcasts by tuning in.
Today’s agreement on a new deal between the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and South Australian National Football League (SANFL) is great news for our local game and for supporters who can’t get to every match.
I am pleased to have helped highlight to the ABC the strength of community support for the SANFL and for continuing coverage of it, late last year sponsoring with Senators from all other political parties a Senate motion calling on the ABC to maintain its broadcasts.
That resolution followed a series of letters from many of South Australia’s federal MPs and the establishment of a Senate inquiry into ABC programming decisions.
Most recently I again raised the issue with ABC Managing Director Mark Scott in a Senate Estimates hearing last week, where he expressed hope at concluding an agreement before the start of the season, as has now occurred.
SANFL football is exactly the sort of thing the ABC should be covering under its charter, which requires the broadcast of programs that contribute to a sense of national identity and reflect the cultural diversity of the Australian community.
Our one truly indigenous national game – Australian Football – is a particularly important part of South Australia’s and Australia’s culture, with the SANFL competition and developmental programs a cornerstone within that.
I congratulate the ABC on responding to the concerns of thousands of South Australians and look forward to joining other fans and viewers in tuning into another exciting SANFL season.