Screen Australia has appealed an Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision on the grounds that TV series Lush House is not a documentary.

The national agency feels the 10-part, Essential Media and Entertainment cleaning series – which follows household expert Shannon Lush as she gives cleaning advice to homemakers – is instead an “infotainment” program and therefore not eligible for the 20 per cent producer offset.

Screen Australia had 28 days to appeal the AAT judgement, which was handed down in late-June.

“This is the first case concerning the definition of documentary and we believe it is important to differentiate between documentary and lifestyle/infotainment programming. For this reason it is necessary to appeal the AAT decision,” Screen Australia’s chief executive Ruth Harley said in a statement.

Essential argued that the series was similar to another one of its programs – Is Your House Killing You – which did receive the tax break.

The AAT acknowledged the series: presented facts – usually in the form of events; had an object of recording fact for the purpose of further information and education; usually covered a number of related events which were linked or presented creatively; and contained some humour that didn’t compromise its serious side. Therefore, the AAT said, the series was a documentary.

Screen Australia said due to this being the first case on the issue of the "meaning" of documentary, the national agency would contribute to the legal costs of Essential in the appeal.

To read the AAT judgement that Screen Australia is appealing, click here.

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1 Comment

  1. Something Screen Australia’s decision makers should read:

    Some people say you show your character in what you do when no-one else is looking.

    It’s also revealed by what you do when you’re lucky enough to have the power to spend government money and to influence the lives of others.

    The managers in Screen Australia? Weighed in the balance and found wanting.


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