Down Under’s struggling post-production industry has received a sizable boost in the federal budget, with the post, digital and visual effects offset upped from 15% to 30%.
But a lift in the 15% location incentives — to help bring much-needed runaways to Oz — did not materialize. Ausfilm topper Debra Richards, who had been lobbying hard to lift the location rebate to 30%, was disappointed. “At 15% the location offset is no longer competitive due to the high Australian dollar and competition from higher incentives offered by other national governments and U.S. state governments,” Richards said.
She praised the lift in the post-production rebate. “The high Australian dollar is dramatically impacting the competitiveness of Australian post-production companies for large-scale work on offshore productions,” she said. “This incentive increase will allow for the continued growth and development of Australia’s post-production industry.”
Oz’s producer perk, a 40% rebate for films that pass a local content test, was also overhauled with the eligibility threshold for features falling from $A1 million ($1.1 million) to $823,000, as well as a number of small tweaks to make the rebate more accessible and reduce the amount of paperwork.
Screen Australia, the main funding org, received a $21.4 million funding injection spread over four years. Some of this funding will allow the org to reinstate its Australian Bureau of Statistics screen industry survey to help provide a clearer picture of how the industry is performing.
“The screen sector should take some comfort from these measures that are designed to invest more money on screen rather than on administration or compliance,” said Glen Boreham, chair of Screen Australia.