After sharing a stage together in Bangkok last October, Mark Sinclair and Dr Nikki Williams of the Australian Coal Association got talking. Mark had been invited to speak to delegates at a global mining conference about digital platforms and online conversations, but it became obvious that he was in the middle of a war. Dr Williams presented to the conference about the impact of anti-development activism in Australia, and the “war on coal” was in full swing.
Dr Williams outlined the scale of the issue. “There are literally thousands of expressions of anti-coal sentiment popping up every day of every week, of every month, of every year. How to know what’s real and what isn’t? What’s justified criticism, requiring an adequate industry response, and what is fiction?” The Australian Coal Association invited yBC to advise on options to balance the debate – so that people could develop their own views around coal, energy, development and more, based on balanced information.
By June 2013, the yBC team had completed a punishing schedule of interviews with Australian CEO’s, politicians, academics, union bosses for the launch of a new digital channel, OzForum.tv, presenting a fuller picture of the issues facing Australia. OzForum.tv aims to check facts, consult experts and commentators, review research and speak to those involved. The channel will pull this information together to help Australians make an informed decision about where they stand on the issue.
yBC.tv has received financial and other support from the Australian Coal Association, the New South Wales Minerals Council and the Queensland Resources Council but it maintains full editorial control of OzForum.tv and all of its other channels. The channel is fully owned by yBC.tv who control the editorial scope and direction of the content.
Initial launches of pilot content from the channel have shown high levels of engagement across the spectrum – which shows that people appreciate punchy, balanced, informative content.
What they said
“It’s time we all realised that a relative minority have amplified their voice disproportionately,” says Williams. “Australians, and the governments we elect need to open their eyes to what is going on and clearly state that “enough is enough”. The time for tunnel vision, ‘my way or the highway’ and planetary fundamentalism is at an end. Our environmental and economic challenges are just too important for the debate to continue in its current guise.” Dr Nicki Williams, CEO, Australian Coal Association