Australia Network Operations to Be Tendered

Move Seeks to "Ensure Best Possible Service"

SYDNEY -- The operation of Australian pan Asian satellite TV service, Australia Network, will be put out to tender later this year, with the contract expanded to ten years, Australia’s foreign minister Kevin Rudd said Tuesday. 

Rudd said that the government has decided that the next Australia Network contract will be put to a competitive open tender process to "ensure the best possible service in return for its investment." The government also wants to move Australia Network to a ten year contract for the period 2011-2021, which will provide greater certainty to the service provider, he added. 

Public broadcaster the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) currently operates the service on behalf of the government, while 24-hour news channel Sky News Australia and News Ltd. have been asking for an open tender for the contract for least a year. 

The service is designed to “promote Australia’s engagement with the region by fostering public understanding of Australia, and presenting, through its programs, an Australian perspective on the world,” according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. 

ABC managing director Mark Scott said the broadcaster will tender, and use the tender process to identify “some of the areas where we believe the service can expand, while demonstrating the ABC’s distinguished 70 year record in international broadcasting which forms part of our charter."

“We look forward to highlighting the important achievements of Australia Network over the last decade – bringing its mix of news, current affairs, education, lifestyle, drama and sport to more than 20 million homes across Asia, the Pacific and the Indian sub-continent,” Scott said. 

He added that a 10-year contract “will allow a continuation of service delivery through established business partnerships in this highly-competitive, fast changing environment that will ensure the continued strength of the network.”