Benefits will be backdated to May

The Oz government has announced changes to its A$282 million ($241 million) Australian Screen Production Incentive package, which came into effect July 1, after complaints from biz.

The benefits will now be back-dated to May, when the package was unveiled in the government’s budget statement. This includes the 15% location offset for foreign productions that shoot Down Under.

Change will benefit DreamWorks’ horror pic “The Ruins,” lensing in Queensland, while tinkering with the 40% domestic producer offset for films will likely shave millions off the budget of Fox’s Baz Luhrmann-helmed “Australia.”

“This change means productions that commenced principal photography immediately following the budget announcement will not be disadvantaged,” said arts minister George Brandis. “It will send a positive message to foreign producers to encourage them to locate future productions in Australia.”

Indie TV producers remain unhappy with the decision to allow networks to access the 20% TV producer rebate.

“This it potentially a disaster for the independent production industry,” said Screen Producers Assn. of Australia executive director Geoff Brown. “For the government not to see where this is going shows a total lack of understanding of the broadcast industries in this country.”

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