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Bowls In Focus : October 2011
Bowls In Focus 31 Lift ingtheLid Lift ingtheLid latest news and information about your sport Welcome to the latest edition of ‘Lifting The Lid’. On an ongoing basis, Bowls Australia, the nation’s governing body for lawn bowls, will provide the wider community with an in-depth look at the issues currently facing the sport. In this month’s edition we examine the ABC’s decision to end its broadcast arrangement with Bowls Australia and the campaign underway to get bowls back on the box in 2012. I trust you will find it informative. Neil Dalrymple Bowls Australia CEO Get bowls back on the box! Anational campaign to petition the ABC to continue broadcasting the sport beyond this year has been launched. Recently the ABC’s head of sport, Justin Holdforth, informed Bowls Australia that the national broadcaster would not be extending its long-term association between the parties. Mr Holdforth cited a strategic shift to attract a younger audience to bowls’ traditional 5pm timeslot on a Saturday evening, as well as the need to ‘redirect its very limited resources into alternate programming’ as some of the key reasons behind the decision. While Bowls Australia was initially disappointed by the ABC’s decision, given lawn bowls’ loyal viewership, the outcry from the general public, along with the sport’s desire to retain a free-to-air presence next year resulted in the campaign to petition the national broadcaster to keep bowls on the box. Launched at the Malvern Bowling Club in Victoria by one of the nation’s most senior politicians, the Hon. Bronwyn Bishop, along with Bowls Australia board director and the Federal Member for Higgins, Kelly O’Dwyer MP, the campaign is by no means a partisan affair. Federal Sports Minister Mark Arbib has been extremely active in relation to this campaign; recently meeting with the ABC’s managing director, Mark Scott, to persuade him to continuing broadcasting bowls beyond this year. In order to reverse this decision, Bowls Australia requires your help. Fundamental to our argument for retaining a position on the ABC include: The ABC has a Charter set out in section 6 of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 that states it should broadcast programs that contribute to a sense of national identity and inform and entertain, and reflect the cultural diversity of the Australian community and further requires it to provide a balance between wide appeal and specialised broadcasting programs; Lawn bowls is one of the highest participation sports in Australia with around 800,000 people playing each year; While 66% of participants in the sport are over the age of 60, it appeals across generations with many younger people participating socially in the sport, as well as children participating through structured programs such as the Australian Sports Commission’s Active After Schools Program; Bowling clubs are an important part of the Australian community, particularly in rural and regional Australia; Over 300,000 people nationally view the bowls broadcast each week, increasing to just under 500,000 people for major tournaments; The broadcast of lawn bowls on free-to- air TV not only provides a service to existing members but promotes and profiles lawn bowls to prospective participants; and Lawn bowls is one of the top-five producers of women’s sport in Australia, with more than 350 hours being screened on national television over the past five years. As a result, Bowls Australia is calling on lawn bowls enthusiasts to sign its national petition prior to COB on Thursday, October 27, which will be presented to the House of Representatives later this year. A copy of the petition can be downloaded via www.bowlsaustralia.com.au or by phoning (03) 9480 7100.
August September 2011