2015-01-14 15:47:43 Releases

MEAA will campaign vigorously to protect opportunities for local actors and crew during the Federal Government’s review of the regulations governing the importation of foreign artists.

According to its terms, announced Monday, the purpose of the review is to “support the whole of government deregulation agenda” within the arts industry.

Director of the Actors’ Equity section of MEAA, Zoe Angus, said: “We always welcome the opportunity to work with the Government, producers, writers, directors and other industry stake holders to ensure screen production thrives in this country.

“However, any attempts to dismantle industry protections that have created an incredible pool of talent that includes the likes of Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Chris Hemsworth and Joel Edgerton will be fiercely resisted by MEAA and our members”.

Currently producers must satisfy the Arts Department that films subsidised by Australian taxpayers have at least 50 per cent of lead roles and 75 per cent of support roles filled by Australian performers and that reasonable efforts have been made to cast Australians for all roles. MEAA is consulted when an application to import foreign cast or crew is made.

The government is proposing to entirely remove these guidelines.

“MEAA is vigilant in ensuring our policies, guidelines and industrial agreements are updated to best serve our members and the industry at large. We are always open to reviewing and discussing our foreign import guidelines with the relevant stake holders,” said Angus.

“However, the government is proposing overseas performers and technicians have unfettered access to jobs within our tax-payer subsidised arts industry. This does not happen in the US or the UK. The current guidelines serve thousands of workers well and foster local talent. They are an essential protection to ensure local talent and skills are developed.”

MEAA will consult members before making a submission to the review.