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Pols probe government film funding in Oz

Review will assess the future of Film Finance Corp.

The Australian government will review its film industry funding, assessing tax incentives, grants and the 12.5% tax offset tapped by offshore producers.

Review, announced in Tuesday night’s federal budget and due to be completed by October, will assess the future of coin agency the Film Finance Corp. and include a planned review of doc producer Film Australia, according to Arts Minister Rod Kemp.

“A major impediment to the long-term viability of the film and television industry in Australia is the very low and declining level of private sector investment in the industry,” Kemp said.

The unpublished findings of the review into tax incentive schemes 10BA and 10B will be included in the report.

Film Finance Corp. topper Brian Rosen called the budget an “excellent result” for the film sector.

“The government has clearly heard the industry’s call for more effective tax incentives, and the budget recognizes the critical role of private investment by announcing this wide-ranging industry review,” Rosen said.

Funding for Australian government film agencies next financial year is more than A$160 million ($123 million).

Meanwhile, the government budget allocates an extra $68 million over the three years for pubcaster the ABC on top of its $1.8 billion triennial funding agreement.

ABC Chairman Donald McDonald said the outcome was the best the pubcaster had seen in more than 20 years.

“This new funding is tremendous for ABC audiences and will help maintain a strong and vibrant national broadcaster into the future,” McDonald said.

The extra coin includes $23 million over three years to fund Aussie drama and docus.

Drama was the big win for the pubcaster, which has seen its hours of drama fall from 100 hours annually a decade ago to around 10 hours in 2005. Funding has been cited as one of the main reasons for the fall.

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