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Report on the Inquiry into the Australian Film & TV Industry

12/12/2017

Today, our CEO, Matthew Deaner, welcomed the House Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts Report on the inquiry into the Australian film and television industry.

This report is a significant contribution to the debate around the future of our industry. The report made many recommendations which, if implemented, would support small to medium-sized Australian production businesses, which drive our industry, to deliver more quality Australian content to Australian and international audiences. I call on the Government to use this report to inform the outcomes of its own review. Mr Deaner said.

The Report made 13 recommendations relating to modernising and harmonising the producer, PDV and location offsets; local content obligations on SVOD services, the ABC and SBS; reform of the children's quotas and a contestable fund for children's content; a regional emphasis for Screen Australia funding; more and better co-production agreements with our Asian neighbours; introducing flexibility to the Foreign Actor Certification Scheme; closing the New Zealand content loophole; and a greater emphasis on mental health and wellbeing in the industry.

SPA provided the Committee with a forward-thinking, positive policy agenda focussed on increased trade, which has largely been adopted by the Committee. Our industry's policy settings on tax, local content quotas, Screen Australia and co-production treaties have served us well and got us to where we are now. But if we are to grow the industry and compete better in the global marketplace, we need to better equip our small to medium-sized production businesses. The Committee has delivered a report that sets out an updated policy framework which will empower Australian production businesses to compete internationally for ideas, finance and talent, including long-overdue, sensible and sober reform of the Foreign Actor Certification Scheme, which will benefit the entire industry.

One concern I have with the recommendations is the proposed reduction in tax offset for feature films from 40 to 30 per cent. There are many existing challenges for our talented film makers in today's competitive global landscape and to put things simply, this proposal will mean great Australian feature films will struggle to get made. SPA has made this clear in our submission to the Government in the Australian and Children's Content Review and we will continue to advocate for features films not be marginalised in any policy reforms and ensure great Australian productions like Lion, The Sapphires, The Dressmaker and Sweet Country be able to be made and shown to audiences both home and abroad.

I am delighted to see the Committee has recommended SVOD services, that generated significant revenue from our market, contribute something to the local industry - up to 10 per cent of revenue earned. Following Europe and Canada, I am convinced it is a just a matter of time for Australia to catch up.

We know the commercial broadcasters want their obligations to Australian children abolished. The Committee has conducted some valuable thinking around addressing Australian children's content. The Committee has made sensible recommendations to reform both demand and supply-side policies to ensure continuing supply of a variety of quality Australian content across multiple platforms. SPA will continue to advocate to #savekidstv.

I commend the Committee Chair, Luke Howarth, for his enthusiasm for our industry. Over the course of this year, Luke has been dedicated in his commitment to identifying problems in the industry and developing options to address these problems. He has led a Committee that has consulted with industry in good faith and has delivered a suite of sensible recommendations for reform. I also want to thank the Deputy Chair, Tim Watts for his contribution to the report, particularly relating to increasing trade with Asian countries, and Committee members David Littleproud and Susan Templeman.

Download the statement.

Media Enquiries:

James Cheatley

james.cheatley@screenproducers.org.au

0419 482 680
LINK: https://screenproducers.org.au/news/report-on-the-inquiry-into-the-aus...
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