Higher location offset will be a game changer for screen industry, says MEAA
Major new job-creating investment in Australia’s screen industry is set to flow following the allocation in last night’s Budget of $112 million to attract offshore productions to our shores.
The Media, Arts & Entertainment Alliance says the increase in the location offset from 16.5% to 30% will have a transformative effect of securing consistent foreign investment in film and television production on Australian soil, delivering on campaigning by MEAA members over many years.
MEAA Chief Executive Erin Madeley said the new permanent 30% location offset will greater certainty than the previous fragmented approach of a smaller rebate and a capped grants program that has now been fully spent.
“This policy change will provide certainty and competitiveness to Australia’s screen industry,” she said.
“After so many years, to have a government that is listening and understanding what our industry needs to thrive is a real breakthrough. We commend them on taking this important step and congratulate all of our members who have lobbied governments for many years calling for this change.”
AACTA Award-winning production designer Fiona Donovan, who is Federal President of MEAA’s Entertainment, Crew and Sport section, said: “This is a huge day for the Australian screen industry. So many screen workers will sleep better tonight knowing that they have certainty for the first time.
“There is still so much work to do to continue to develop our industry to meet future demands, but this is a foundation piece that we can build on. Now the big players need to do their part and get behind the government’s plans to boost Australian content through regulation on streaming platforms.”
Dan Oliver, an Academy Award nominated special effects supervisor who has worked on many of the biggest productions shot in Australia, said: “Certainty on the location offset means that foreign investment in our industry makes sense in a way that it hasn’t before. We will get more bang for our buck attracting not just productions, but long-term investment.
“It’s particularly good to see that every production that benefits from this change will now have to leave a legacy of increased skills, workforce development or infrastructure, which will benefit the whole screen industry.”
The announcement paves the way for Australian screen workers, businesses, and governments to work in partnership with the industry’s biggest global players to build the Australian screen industry into a strong international force.
Later this year, the government is expected to deliver on its commitment to introduce an expenditure-based local content requirement for streaming video on demand services. Consultation with the industry is currently underway.
“We call on streamers and studios to embrace this opportunity by backing the government’s plans to introduce long overdue Australian content quotas that guarantee a strong cultural return for Australian audiences,” said actor, producer, director and Federal President of MEAA Equity, Jason Klarwein.
“Australians deserve rich, diverse, high quality local content that includes drama, documentary and children’s programming.”