by Dov Kornits

The recent government announcement of a virtual doubling of the Location Offset for overseas productions to film in Australia (like the pictured Anyone But You, The Fall Guy, etc) has our crews and their representatives ecstatic, however, some see this as just a diversion, as the Labor government continues to not act on their promise to introduce a local content quota for the streaming corporations that now dominate the landscape.

@filminkInstead, they give Hollywood a tax break to divide us and to divert our attention.♬ original sound – FilmInk

“While the recent confirmation of the increase in Australia’s Location Offset that benefits non-Australian projects was great news, the absence of commensurate certainty for Australia’s home-grown industry and Australian projects through streaming regulation is now causing great angst in our industry,” said Screen Producers Australia CEO Matthew Deaner [left] in a press release.

“Over the past week, I’ve been contacted by members around Australia who are concerned about where our industry now stands. This is particularly the case as the 1 July 2024 start date for streaming regulation has come and gone with no new timeframe from the Government.

“Without a counterbalance in local works and robust commissioning, the changes that passed Parliament last week will mean that the Australian screen sector is on track to develop more as a service provider for Hollywood productions, who are encouraged here to take advantage of generous rebates, rather than grow our own local storytelling capabilities.

“Right now, Australian audiences are finding it harder and harder to find their culture and heritage on screens. The balance of Government interventions in our industry should always lean towards Australians telling and producing Australian stories.

“In what has now been two years since the Albanese Government was elected and 18 months since the launch of Australia’s National Cultural Policy Revive with its promise to Australian audiences, we have not seen any progress in addressing the decline in Australian screen culture – on any platform.

“Opportunities include full restoration of cuts made to the ABC and SBS and Screen Australia under former Governments as well as new investments, reviewing and better balancing the regulation on subscription and commercial (public service) television, comprehensive reviews and adjustments of offsets and export and international co-production strategies as well as introducing promised regulation of streaming (SVOD and BVOD) services all of which have the potential to simulate our Australian storytelling.

“We deeply value our international and global producing partners and the benefits they bring to our shores – but we must ensure that our local industry is robust, resilient and prioritised regarding support measures.

“Our Australian screen industry should aim always to remain open to new entrants to ensure diversity and stories from the grassroots of society. Almost everyone gets their start in the local industry.

“That’s why local must always be our first, second and third priority as an industry, government and society.”