Australian Screen Council: Foreign owned media conglomerates will exploit subsid

The Australian Screen Council (ASC) responded Friday to Arts Minister Brandis’ announcements setting out the details of the Government’s film and television package announced in the May Budget.
The Minister’s recent letter to the industry indicates he has consulted widely and listened to industry on many key issues.  ‘However it will all mean nothing if Australian television broadcasters are able to exploit the rebate,’ said Trish Lake, ASC Chair.
‘Our great concern is that broadcasters will bow to pressure from their overseas owners and take production in house – displacing the Australian independent production industry and reducing the diversity and quality Australian audiences deserve.’
The intention of the legislation was to strengthen local industry and attract more private investment to the sector. Australian free-to-air networks are, per capita, the most profitable in the world. This potential access by broadcasters is a clear distortion of the intent of the package.
‘To access Australian airways, these broadcasters are obliged by law to show a certain amount of new Australian programs.  Now the Government wants taxpayers to subsidise the meetings of these obligations. The goal of the film package was to grow Australian production business – not to subsidise profitable international media conglomerates and foreign venture capitalists.’
The Australian Screen Council urges decision makers and parliamentarians from all sides of politics to act decisively to ensure the film and television package’s original intentions are delivered in the final legislation.
The Australian Screen Council comprises the four peak organizations of the Australian film and television industry – the Australian Directors’ Guild (ADG), the Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG), the Media and Arts Alliance (MEAA), and the Screen Producers’ Association (SPAA).

For further information or comment, please contact Australian Screen Council Chair, Trish Lake on 0412 189 977.
For contact details of member organisations, please call Stephen Asher on 02 9281 1554.

[release from The Australian Screen Council]

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