Oz Producers Seek to Slow Gov’t Cutbacks

SPA says auditors’ recommendations are ‘disproportionate’.

Australian producers have called for a calm and measured approach to proposed federal government spending cuts that could see funding for Screen Australia cut in half and the support organization merged with the Australia Council .

The Commission of Audit last week also published recommendations that public sector broadcasters Australian Broadcasting Corporation and SBS both have their budgets reduced.

Industry trade body Screen Producers Australia called the proposals “disproportionate.”

“While the industry had anticipated some reduction in government funding to the sector, Screen Producers Australia is concerned at what seems a disproportionate cut to Screen Australia, including to a key area of industry innovation (multiplatform/games), said its
executive director, Matthew Deaner.

“The ABC, SBS and Screen Australia are essential partners to the independent production sector in Australia. Their investments trigger millions of dollars of local and international financing into productions which employ thousands of Australians,” he said.

“We recognize the need for efficiencies, but they will take time to implement and we must sure that the search for efficiencies does not undermine core business.”

Deaner also sought to separate the views of the specially-convened Commission of Audit from those of the current federal government.

“As expected the government has taken a more level headed approach in this budget. Screen producers look forward to continuing our strong working relationship with the government. We will continue to discuss the most appropriate levers of support, with particular emphasis on the producer offset, to further drive investment and innovation in our industry and we call on the Federal Government to reaffirm its ongoing commitment to the creation of quality film and television by a dynamic Australian independent production sector.”

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