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Closing the Gap – Communications Strategy

Estimates & Committees
Rachel Siewert 25 Feb 2011

Community Affairs – 25 February 2011

Senator SIEWERT—I would like to look at Closing the Gap, which is the first thing on the agenda, but also look at the report itself. I understand that a Closing the Gap brand framework has been developed by the department; is that correct?

Ms Halbert —Our communications area, whom I do not think are here, have been working to develop a communication strategy around Closing the Gap. You referred to it as a brand framework. I am not sure whether that is the terminology. I am actually not sure whether that is the terminology we use, but certainly they have been working to develop a common communication strategy that all agencies can use.

Senator SIEWERT—You can actually find the brand and a copy of the style guide on the website.

Ms Halbert —The brand framework terminology I am not sure of, but there is a Closing the Gap logo. Is that what you are referring to?

Senator SIEWERT—I am presuming that—

Ms Halbert —They have a communications strategy. Our communications people could answer that in more detail.

Senator SIEWERT—Can you tell me how much it has cost to develop the communication strategy, the brand framework and the style guide?

Ms Halbert —I am unable to answer that.

Dr Harmer—We can certainly give you that on notice. If you have a lot of questions about the communications, I can try and get those people across here. They are not here at the moment.

Senator SIEWERT—You might be able to answer some of the questions I have and I will put the rest on notice, instead of dragging them over.

Dr Harmer—Okay.

Senator SIEWERT—Could you take on notice how much it was for the communications strategy and then specifically for developing the brand framework and style guide?

Dr Harmer—Yes.

Senator SIEWERT—That would be appreciated.

Dr Harmer—I should just say in relation to that that, because there are so many departments involved that have elements of activity in Closing the Gap, we thought it was important to have some unifying logo or principle that brings it together. We have been working on that in an interdepartmental committee, but I will have to take on notice the detail of the cost.

Senator SIEWERT—If you could, that would be appreciated, thank you. Can you clarify who owns the intellectual property and any fair-use policy applied by the government to its publications, and in particular the Closing the Gap report that was released in February?

Mr Heferen—I think we will have to take that on notice, but the inside cover of the Closing the Gap Prime Minister’s Report 2011 does have copyright for the Commonwealth of Australia. I do not know, but in trying to be helpful I suspect the Commonwealth owns the copyright.

Senator SIEWERT—And have you got a fair-use policy?

Mr Heferen—I am not aware and I think we will have to take that one on notice.

Dr Harmer—Can we take that on notice, unless there is someone here who knows the answer to that. I am not seeing anyone nodding.

Senator SIEWERT—There are a lot of pictures in this document and none of the people are named. The photographers are named in the document but the people in the pictures are not. This is a sensitive issue in Aboriginal communities and I would like to know if permission was sought and received from the people themselves or from the parents, carers or guardians of the children?

Dr Harmer—I would be very surprised if we have not. I can assure you, having been involved in Indigenous policy for a long time, that we also are very sensitive to that. We are well aware of the importance. I know, as I go around the country and visit communities, if there are any photographs taken there is permission sought et cetera. I will let Mr Davitt answer the question.

Mr Davitt—My understanding is that our communications area secures the rights to those pictures and the approvals necessary. We can follow that up for more detail about exactly how they do that, but I understand that there is permission.

Dr Harmer—I will confirm if that is the case but I, frankly, personally would be very surprised if we have not. I know it is a matter of course for department activity in communities.

Senator SIEWERT—Is there a policy of not naming people? Is that a departmental policy? What was the reason for not actually naming people who are in the photos?

Dr Harmer—In many cases where photographs are taken of actions and events we do not name the people. I am not sure of this but it may be that we indicated to them when we took the photograph that they would not be named. That is possible, but I do not know for sure. We will find that out as well.

Senator SIEWERT—There are lots of pictures in there that are not of groups; they are actually specific photos of individuals or small groups.

Dr Harmer—Yes.

Senator SIEWERT—There are many where the people are not named but the photographer is.

Dr Harmer—Presumably, as we produced that document, we had a broad policy about whether we would name everyone or not. It would be strange to have some photographs where we named them and others where we did not. I suspect in some cases there may have been some people who signed a form saying they did not want to be named, in which case we had a broad policy where all the photographs would have no names rather than have a mixture. Again, I will get the answer to that.

Senator SIEWERT—That would be appreciated, if you could. It may be part of the communications strategy, but that would be appreciated.

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