Australian Children's Television Foundation
|Purpose/focus||Development and promotion of children's television in Australia|
The Australian Children's Television Foundation (ACTF) is a national non-profit children’s media production and policy hub.
The ACTF helps develop children’s television policy; distributes and invests in Australian children’s television series; supports new, innovative and entertaining children’s media; and develops screen resources for the education sector.
The Australian Children's Television Foundation (ACTF) is committed to providing Australian children with entertaining media made especially for them, which makes an enduring contribution to their cultural and educational experience.
The Australian Education Council established the ACTF following recommendations to Commonwealth, State and Territory governments. It is supported by, and receives funding from, the Commonwealth Government and the governments of most States and Territories.
The origins of the ACTF can be traced to a meeting between the Victorian Minister for the Arts (and Educational Services) Norman Lacy and Dr Patricia Edgar (at that time a media academic at LaTrobe University) in 1980 at the Wentworth Hotel in Sydney. Lacy was an admirer of Edgar's ideas for improving the quality of children's television production. They agreed to join forces to promote the proposal for the establishment of an organisation to achieve their shared objectives. Lacy then used his ministerial membership of the Australian Education Council and the Australian Arts Ministers' Conference to initiatethe establishment of the Australian Children's Television Foundation. He appointed Edgar to the Arts Ministry staff to steer the project, provided office space and establishment funding, and won the support of NSW Education Minister Paul Landa with whom he co-chaired the early steering committee meetings.
In early 1981, Lacy addressed the Senate Standing Committee on Education and the Arts arguing for the strategic and national importance of a Commonwealth commitment to recurrent funding for the fledgling Foundation. The Senate Standing committee report Children and Television Revisited recommended the establishment of an independent children's television production unit, which was the impetus for the foundation of the ACTF, to be funded by the Australian government with contributions from state and territory governments.
Norman Lacy's political advocacy and practical support coupled with Patricia Edgar's intellectual capacity and lobbying skills eventually won through and the Australian Children's Television Foundation was born with funding support from the Commonwealth Government collectively matched by all the State governments except Queensland. Subsequently, Patricia Edgar, the founding executive director of the Foundation, retired and Jenny Buckland was appointed CEO in July 2002. Formerly its General Manager, Buckland played a significant role in the establishment of the Foundation becoming one of the most successful international marketers of children's television programs.
The ACTF has flourished since its establishment under the leadership of Edgar, Buckland, its long term Chairman Janet Holmes à Court and a Board representative of each of the State and Commonwealth Governments that have provided the bulk of its funding requirements.
Over the 30 years of its existence, the ACTF has continued to develop and produce high quality television programs for children. It aims to create innovative, entertaining and educational programs and its programs have screened in over 100 countries and have won over 100 local and international awards.
Popular titles – developed by the ACTF and other leading Australian producers – are designed to both educate and inspire kids no matter where they live.
The ACTF provides funding and support to independent Australian producers and writers of quality children's programs. In every project they provide funding for, the ACTF ensures it is produced to the highest standards. By helping develop new children's programs, the ACTF remains true to their goal of creating programs that children, parents and educators can rely on to be engaging, entertaining, accessible, creative and innovative.
The ACTF is also renowned for producing engaging and relevant education programs that cover a broad spectrum of the curriculum. There are programs available for most curriculum areas, catering for all grades through primary and high school.
Some notable television series developed or assisted by the ACTF include:
- Round The Twist
- Dance Academy
- The Genie From Down Under
- Li'l Elvis Jones and the Truckstoppers
- The Worst Year Of My Life - Again!
- Lockie Leonard
- Double Trouble
- Noah & Saskia
- My Place
- Lift Off
- Touch The Sun
- Yolngu Boy
- You're Skitting Me
- Crash Zone
- Holly's Heroes
- Worst Best Friends
- The Age, 25 June 1981
- Spaull, Andrew. A History of the Australian Education Council 1936-1986, Allen & Unwin, 1987, pp 285-288
- Edgar, Patricia. Bloodbath: A Memoir of Australian Television, Melbourne University Press, 2006
- Edgar, Patricia. 'The Art of Getting Things Done' in Share Visions - Women in Television, Blonski, Annette. and Glow, Hilary. Eds. Australian Film Commission, 1999, page 30 "Norman Lacy, the Victorian Minister for the Arts and Education, happened to read a paper I’d given for the annual Grierson Lecture in which I had proposed the establishment of a foundation for children’s television. He asked me to see him because he said he liked the idea and I and others set about gathering support. Lacy took the idea to the AEC (the Council of Ministers of Education). After long and extensive lobbying of State governments and Canberra politicians, we succeeded."
- Senate Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committees -The First 20 Years 1970 - 1990, Parliament of Australia, 30 May 2003.
- Spaull, Andrew. ibid