The SBS Charter, provided in the SBS Act, sets out the principal functions of SBS and a number of duties it has to fulfil. The Charter, contained in Section 6 of the Special Broadcasting Services Act 1991, states:
(1) The principal function of SBS is to provide multilingual and multicultural radio, television and digital media services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians and, in doing so, reflect Australia's multicultural society.
(2) SBS, in performing its principal function, must:
(a) contribute to meeting the communications needs of Australia's multicultural society, including ethnic, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; and
(b) increase awareness of the contribution of a diversity of cultures to the continuing development of Australian society; and
(c) promote understanding and acceptance of the cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity of the Australian people; and
(d) contribute to the retention and continuing development of language and other cultural skills; and
(e) as far as practicable, inform, educate and entertain Australians in their preferred languages; and
(f) make use of Australia's diverse creative resources; and
(g) contribute to the overall diversity of Australian television and radio services, particularly taking into account the contribution of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the community broadcasting sector; and
(h) contribute to extending the range of Australian television and radio services, and reflect the changing nature of Australian society, by presenting many points of view and using innovative forms of expression.