Aussie showbizzers push for TV credit

Kiwi offshore offering could hurt film and TV industry

SYDNEY — The leaders of four Australian states have stepped up the pressure on the federal government to extend the 12.5% tax credit for films lensed Down Under to big-budget TV series.

The Oz industry campaign took on extra urgency last week after the New Zealand government unveiled similar incentives for offshore film and TV production.

Ausfilm, which reps more than 60 private firms as well as all six state film agencies, warned Australia’s international production industry is in jeopardy unless the rebate is applied to TV series (Daily Variety, July 3).

The four premiers, New South Wales’ Bob Carr, Queensland’s Peter Beattie, Victoria’s Steve Bracks and South Australia’s Mike Rann, all of whom head Labor governments, jointly signed a letter urging Prime Minister John Howard to extend the incentive to big-budget TV production.

Ausfilm cited Australian Film Commission statistics showing spending in Oz on foreign telemovies fell from $A67 million ($43.5 million) in fiscal 2000/2001 to zero in 2001/02.

Ausfilm presented a report to the government in March that made a strong economic case for extending the rebate.

But recent entreaties have fallen on deaf ears, despite widespread industry concerns that Oz is even less competitive now the Kiwis are offering carrots to offshore film and TV producers.

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