$38 million funding hit for Screen Australia

Screen Australia will be $38 million worse off over the next four years due to the federal Budget cuts.

The agency is losing $25 million in government funding in that period while the termination of the Australian Interactive Games Fund which it administered means a reduction of $10 million in 2014-2015. The fund had been due to run for another year.

The end of the four year interactive multiplatform funding initiative in 2017-18 will result in a $2.5 million impact in 2017-18.

It said the effect of these measures in 2014-15 on Screen Australia’s budget is $15.2 million. The agency received $100.8 million in funding in 2013-2014.

The cuts may impact the revamped Enterprise program, Enterprise Industry, whose annual funding, initially indicated at between $3 million and $5 million per year, is to be fixed after the Budget.

“Screen Australia like other Government organisations has been required to contribute to balancing the Federal Budget,” said CEO Graeme Mason.

“We will undertake a comprehensive review of all programs and how they are delivered. We will maintain our commitment to working efficiently in order to minimise the impact on the Australian screen sector.

“We will focus on our core business to support culture, innovation and quality on Australian screens. At this stage there is nothing further we can add.”

Actors Equity director Sue McCreadie expressed relief that the government  had rejected the Commission of Audit's proposal to halve Screen Australia's budget and merge the agency with the Australia Council.

But she told IF the reduction in funding would mean Screen Australia would be forced to support fewer films and TV dramas in the next four years.

Screen Producers Australia executive director Matt Deaner voiced his concern at  "what seems a disproportionate cut to Screen Australia, including to a key area of industry innovation (multiplatform/games)."

Deaner said the government must ensure the ABC, SBS and Screen Australia have a workable timetable to enact required efficiencies without compromising their ability to develop, fund and commission Australian screen content.

The government said it would save $2.4 million over four years by consolidating the back office functions of a number of Canberra-based collection agencies including the National Film and Sound Archive, the National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia, Old Parliament House and the National Archives of Australia.