Our National Peak Body role

IRCA's National Peak Body role

IRCA supports the industry to provide essential media and communications services to urban, regional and remote First Nations people and communities.  

IRCA aims to be an effective national peak body that delivers outcomes, building upon our achievements over the last 15 years in representing and resourcing the remote sector. Our activities include:

We also continue to advocate for digital inclusion and access to relevant media services in our communities nationally.

Our key areas of work are:

1. Representation

IRCA advocates for the industry and aims to exert maximum influence on broadcasting and media policy issues as and when they arise.

2. Policy & Research

A strong First Nations media industry needs a clear understanding of needs, issues and trends. It needs reliable evidence to build a business and social impact case to attract and maintain diverse income streams from government, philanthropic institutions, and the corporate sector. Above all it needs reliable data on sector capacity and needs as well as audience engagement to inform policy, effective decision-making and promotion of industry outcomes and impact.

3. Member Services

As a peak body, IRCA’s greatest responsibility is to serve its members. Over the next three years, the organisation will focus on building a range of membership services that respond to the needs and interests of its membership. IRCA will also look for ways in which to inform, support and assist its members with a range of services that build capacity and resources for the future.

4. Industry Development

Effective and reliable media and communications services for First Nations people anywhere in Australia needs strong organisations and skilled people. We need to maintain and build upon the infrastructure, resources, people, organisations and stakeholders that currently exist in the industry. Existing capacity and knowledge in the industry will be recognised as well as the need to support effective responses by the industry in the face of technological, audience and policy changes. Collaborative working groups will be developed in relevant areas such as:

  • Employment & skills development
  • Technology and innovation (Inc. R&D)
  • Content development and sharing
  • Business development and planning resources, workshops, etc.
  • Other membership-driven projects

5. Industry Promotion & Networking

This area of activity is considered crucial in building a vibrant First Nations media industry and promoting its outcomes nationally and internationally. Industry conferences and events provide an opportunity for organisations and practitioners with a common interest to come together to showcase best practice, network and to share knowledge, ideas and expertise. They also provide an opportunity to celebrate achievements through industry awards and to meet with industry stakeholders, government agencies and funding partners. The aim is to build a sense of connectedness and to increase the profile of the work of the industry and its practitioners.

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Pathways to and launch of the National Peak Body Role

In transitioning to the National Peak Body from its remote peak role, IRCA consulted widely and worked closely with our stakeholders to determine appropriate membership and governance and support structures. It was important in the consultations to take into account the diversity of the industry geographically as well as in media forms.  The transition occurred at the request of the Australian Government to expand into a national role. In October 2016, with the approval of its members, IRCA formally expanded its role and representation to become the national peak body for the First Nations media industry. IRCA consequently changed its Constitution to reflect this expanded role and moved to an organisational membership model.

The draft Strategic Plan 2016-19 was launched at the same time for feedback on our role and function as a national peak body and the services we deliver to our members.  Four membership categories are now available to organisations and individuals who are directly involved or have an interest in building our diverse and innovative industry.

While broadcasting is the core activity, IRCA acknowledges that the industry has diversified significantly and embraces all the mediums First Nations are now using to communicate, connect and share knowledge. We invite membership from organisations and individuals working across all platforms; radio, film/TV, print, online and mobile. We also invite non-Indigenous partner organisations and supporters of the industry to join as Affiliates or Friends.

IRCA held the CONVERGE National Summit (Alice Springs) in May 2017 to launch the national peak body and provide a forum for industry policy development and planning. The CONVERGE First Nations Media National Conference (Brisbane) in March 2018 set the policy directions for the future of First Nations media across Australia.

"We tread a fine line between community and government, urban and remote, and it's important all those voices are heard," said IRCA Chair, Dot West. "Social and financial capital are very important for us to have agency to be heard on a large scale. It's our responsibility to make sure there is an industry here in respect of those who have been and those who are coming up."

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