Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke, said, “Supporting Australia’s screen sector is vital to ensuring our nation’s stories are seen and heard at home and around the world. This funding will help ensure creative talent is nurtured, and artist and arts workers have career structures that are long-term and sustainable – among the key priorities of Revive, the Australian Government’s National Cultural Policy.”

Screen Australia’s Head of Industry Development, Ken Crouch said, “With such a wealth of production taking place around the country, it’s a priority for us to improve the industry’s capability and set the sector up for a consistent pipeline of work and opportunities for filmmakers to advance their skills in below-the-line roles. Screen Australia is proud to be working with the state screen agencies to address areas of immediate need. By partnering with each of the states we can support the work they are doing and help them to build crew capacity with a tailored approach.”

“It’s important that we all work together to ensure we are in the best position to keep up the pace, and this is an important first step. In order for Australia to capitalise and enable a booming local screen industry, attractive globally, it will be critical to have further skills development investment in industry-ready training,” Crouch continued.

In 2021/22 there was an unprecedented spend of $2.29 billion in Australia on producing scripted drama alone, including $1.51 billion on local titles. In response to the sector’s immediate issues and to build resilience for the Australian screen industry, Ausfilm, on the back of the production infrastructure and capacity audit it commissioned, convened a national Workforce Capacity Working Group in December 2021 to bring together government, industry and education to collaboratively work together. The working group is made up of the Office for the Arts (as Chair), Screen Australia, Australian Film Television and Radio School, Ausfilm, NIDA and the state screen agencies.

Crouch joined Screen Australia last month in a newly created role to drive coordination across all industry stakeholders and levels of government, and to develop and implement national programs that support capacity building and skills development for the Australian screen sector.

Immediate actions to address identified skills shortages include the following funded programs:

  • Screen Canberra: Training and placements in crew positions including locations and unit management on local productions.
  • Screen NSW: On-the-job training and upskilling opportunities for practitioners through placements on productions across film, television including post-production. Screen NSW will work in partnership with industry and training bodies.
  • Screen Queensland: Placements for key crew roles on domestic and international productions such as in Accounts, Location Management, Art Department, PDV and Script Supervision.
  • Screen Tasmania: Crew placements on productions in key crew roles, including increasing the number and length of attachments already being facilitated. Screen Tasmania will increase opportunities and financial support for Tasmanian practitioners to undertake training and attachments in interstate productions as well.
  • Screen Territory: Providing five paid attachments for Northern Territory creatives to work in the Art, Locations, Sound, Camera or Makeup Departments on local productions.
  • Screenwest: Supporting a 12-month program to provide targeted skills development and placement opportunities for below-the-line roles. The funding will be used to train Western Australian practitioners in roles including Production Accounting, Location Management, Production Management, Script Supervision, Grips and LX, Camera.
  • South Australian Film Corporation: Expanding the agency’s existing attachment scheme to double the length of roles from six to 12 weeks, allowing the attached creatives to gain a deeper learning experience.
  • VicScreen: Supporting on the job training for key roles of acute screen industry need, across Digital Games, Film and TV, Post-production and VFX companies, including an expansion of the Specialist Placement Program. The Specialist Placement Program fast-tracks the development of early to mid-career Victorian crew in technical roles. To find out more click here.

The funding announced today is in addition to a range of initiatives Screen Australia is running to support above-the-line practitioners including:

Photo: On the set of Rosehaven (by Scott Bradshaw)