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Australian Screen Industry Group Condemns Recent cut to Screen Australia by the Turnbull Government

The Australian Screen Industry Group (ASIG), consisting of all the guilds, unions and associations that represent over 10,000 Australian filmmakers, are angered by the recent cut to Screen Australia by the Turnbull Government. We are particularly alarmed at the use of funds to supplement the tax offset for overseas productions. This is a worrying precedent and continues to provide the local and international screen community with uncertainty about the governments approach to the screen industry. The ASIG calls on the Turnbull Government to outline an effective and innovative policy for the screen industry rather than making policy on the run.

Australian Directors Guild (ADG) President Samantha Lang said “If the Turnbull government is serious about its innovation agenda it should wholly support the key creative industries in this country” referring to the use of money from the Screen Australia budget to top up the location offset for several international productions shooting in Australia. “We must have a coherent and forward thinking arts policy rather than an ad hoc approach”, she said. 

“The Australian Cinematographers Society strongly believes that Government of any persuasion, but in particular on this occasion the Turnbull Government, must remove it’s head from the sand and support Screen Australia 110% and not ignore the great and future potential of the Australian Film and Television industry. 

Recent international accolades for Mad Max: Fury Road and The Dressmaker, along with many others are surely proof enough that our home grown industry talent, on both sides of the camera, is worthy of Federal support.

Surely as a responsible Government you do not wish to lose home grown productions and talent, to an overseas film and television industry.” Ron Johanson OAM ACS President of the Australian Cinematographers Society.

"For the third time in 18 months there has been a funding cut to Screen Australia. This efficiency dividend comes after almost $4 million was cut over the forward estimates earlier this year, on top of $38 million the year before. In the five years to 2018-19 this will total more than $50 million in combined cuts across budgets. This hacking at the base of Screen Australia through isolated cuts is damaging to the industry,” said Mr Matthew Deaner, CEO of Screen Producers Australia.

“Disappointingly, the cut comes a week after the Prime Minister's launch of the Innovation and Science Agenda where the screen industry’s contribution to innovation was recognised with a commitment to ‘reviewing the Location Offset designed to attract major motion pictures to be produced in Australia and provide jobs in our creative industries’.”

“While recent successes at the Australian box office shows we can match it with Hollywood when it comes to bums on seats, the mega-dollar budgets, marketing campaigns and major stars Hollywood employs to infiltrate every corner of the globe always means the odds are heavily stacked against Australian writers, producers and directors to tell the kind of stories that are meaningful to us as a nation. The Turnbull government’s decision to make tens of millions of dollars available to US franchises effectively, while cutting support for our own storytellers is budget balancing gone mad,” said Jan Sardi, President. Australian Writers Guild.

Paul Murphy Director of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance was also shocked by the cuts.

“Taking money out of Screen Australia will directly impact on domestic production. While we welcome any government support for foreign productions that create jobs for Australian-based performers and crew, it should not be at the expense of the local industry. Financial incentives for foreign productions need to be treated as part of a holistic approach rather than as one-offs which transfer funding from one area to another, with a review of the location offset critical to attract major motion pictures to be produced in Australia and provide jobs in our creative industries,” he said

ASIG have been working over the past several months since the call from the Prime Minister for an innovation agenda on a comprehensive screen policy that looks to secure the future for the Australian screen industry. We call on the current Turnbull Government to honour their pledge to support innovation and invest in our most valuable resource – talented filmmakers.

The Australian Screen Industry Group consists of:

Australian Directors Guild (ADG), Australian Writers Guild (AWG), Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS), Australian Production Designers Guild (APDG), Australian Guild of Screen Composers (AGSC), Australian Screen Editors (ASE), Australian Screen Sound Guild (ASSG), Women in Film and Television (WIFT), Visual Effects Society (VES), Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) and Screen Producers Australia (SPA).

Media enquiries and interviews:
Tracey Mair, TM Publicity
Ph: 02 8333 9066 or 0419 221 493

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