Government to release guidelines for $20 million funding

Offshore producers who were hoping to take advantage of the Australian Government’s special grant of $20 million will have to be patient.

The then Arts Minister Simon Crean announced the incentive to attract productions to shoot Down Under when he unveiled the National Cultural Policy in March.

Crean said the new funding was separate from the $21.6 million payment to Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Captain Nemo Down Under, whose start date has been postponed until 2014 pending the finalisation of casting.

The Office for the Arts (OFTA), the Government’s arts and culture policy and funding body, this week revealed it is working on the guidelines for the $20 million grant and they would be issued on or by July 1 after being approved by Arts Minister Tony Burke.

The Arts Department will assess applications using the location offset guidelines and the thresholds on qualifying Australian production spend, with each application determined by the Minister.

Officials advised that when the Government goes into caretaker mode the department can still assess the applications and then seek Ministerial approval- but a decision won’t be made until after the September election.

Shadow Arts Minister Senator George Brandis has not responded in detail to the National Cultural Policy so an incoming Coalition Government may not endorse all its measures.