Industry rallies to support the Make it Australian campaign

The groundswell of support for the Australian screen industry’s Make it Australian campaign grows by the day.

Organisers expect at least 1,500 people will attend rallies in the mainland capital cities and Hobart on September 18 to warn of the risks facing Australian storytelling on screen.

Expect some big names from the screen industry to address the meetings as part of the campaign by the Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG), Australian Directors Guild (ADG), Screen Producers Australia (SPA) and the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) in a rare display of industry unity.

Earlier this week the Melbourne meeting at ACMI was listed as full but extra space has been found while in Sydney the venue has been switched from AFTRS to Event Cinemas in George Street to accommodate the anticipated turn-out.

In echoes of the Make it Australian TV campaign of 1969-1970, the new campaign stresses these factors which endanger Australian content:

  • The rules that ensure Australian stories appear on Australian screens must evolve so that new players like Netflix, YouTube, Stan, ISPs and telcos have obligations to create original local programs.
  • Major supporters of Australian stories – Screen Australia and the ABC – have had their funding cut year after year.
  • Commercial TV broadcasters want to walk away from any requirement to create children’s content.
  • Tax incentives that encourage production in Australia are no longer competitive.

ADG CEO Kingston Anderson told IF he is not surprised at the high level of industry support, stating: “There is a growing frustration with the government funding cuts and lack of things happening while we have the concurrent Content Review and the parliamentary film and TV inquiry.

“We have seen our colleagues in Europe succeed in putting a local content quota on Netflix. We have to continually remind the government our industry is fragile and our content won’t be there unless it is supported.”

A spokesperson for the MEAA told IF, “As shown by the significant interest in the concurrent screen and content inquiries, performers and crew are concerned to see Australia’s film and TV industry thrive into the future and are stepping up to the plate to join the campaign launches around the country on September 18 and to take action for local content rules, adequate funding for public broadcasting and Screen Australia, and a competitive tax incentives to encourage production here.”

The campaign’s website states, “Our children are growing up surrounded with foreign content and speaking American and British accents.

“So we need to once again stand together to make it Australian; to see Australian stories on Australian screens.

“Today, just as we asked in the 1960s and 1970s, we ask the government to ensure that those who provide the services contribute to our stories.

“We ask the government to ensure incentives are improved to support our stories. We ask the government to ensure public funding for public broadcasters and screen agencies.”

The times and venues:

Sydney 6.30pm, Event Cinemas, George Street

Melbourne 3pm, ACMI

Brisbane 6pm, William Galloway Auditorium, QCU

Adelaide 5pm, Media Resource Centre

Perth 4pm, East Perth Fielder Street Creative Hub

Hobart 5.30pm, Fullers Bookshop

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