The Indigenous Remote Communications Association Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Corporation (IRCA) was officially established in October 2001 at the Remote Video Festival held at Umuwa, SA.
The concept of forming IRCA as a separate entity to support the unique needs of the remote media industry was the result of a meeting held in Canberra in February, 2001 during the early stages of the Networking the Nation program. With the convergence of media and information and communication technologies (ICT), the role of the RIMOs was diversifying to include both media and communications. The need for a remote peak body was further reinforced in September, 2001 with the demise of the national peak body National Indigenous Media Association of Australia (NIMAA).
IRCA was formed as a peak body to represent RIMOs and BRACS (now RIBS) communities that were struggling to be heard at the national level due to a number of factors such as geographical isolation, difficult work conditions and limited funding. IRCA, therefore, has a very important role to play in advocating on behalf of these communities and representing them for the sustainability of the remote Indigenous media and communications industry.
IRCA is unique in claiming a national understanding of the media needs of the remote region. IRCA aims to advocate on policy and funding issues and strategic development of the remote media industry.
IRCA has achieved some key milestones since its formation. Many of these achievements relate to its key role in advocating for the RIMOs in response to political and funding changes within the remote Indigenous television and communications industry.
- IRCA was instrumental in establishing the Indigenous Community Television Service (ICTV) which broadcast over Imparja's narrowcast channel 31 from 2001-2007
- Supporting the annual National Remote Media Festival with the host RIMO since 2001
- Effectively lobbied for the RIBS television transmitter rollout in 2005-06
- Played a key role in the establishment of the Australian Indigenous Communications Association (AICA) in 2004, and the National Indigenous Television Service (NITV) in 2006
- Supported TEABBA during the ATSIC organisation review
- Supported the re-establishment of QRAMAC as the RIMO for north Queensland
- Represented the concerns of the remote media industry in its response to the 2006 Indigenous Broadcasting Program review
- Effectively lobbied for the establishment of the CBF Indigenous Remote Radio Replacement (IRRR) 2008
- IRCA has played a critical role in building pride, strength and cohesion in the remote Indigenous media and communications industry.