Labor pledges action on a Netflix quota
At a special Make it Australian event in Sydney last week Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland MP, pledged that if elected a Shorten Labor government would introduce local content requirements for Netflix and other streaming video on demand services. Labor would create an industry taskforce to advise on the level of the quota and how it would be implemented.
Ms Rowland said this would happen as early as possible, but it was important that the taskforce sought the views of the sector about the best mechanism to achieve this. “The sector has waited long enough,” she said.
The announcement came while Ms Rowland addressed an industry audience of almost 500 people at Fox Studios in Sydney and over livestreaming — including producers, directors, writers, actors, broadcasters and streaming services like Netflix.
She also reaffirmed Labor’s commitment to reverse an $84 million funding cut to the ABC but fell short of full restoration of the hundreds of millions of dollars which have been cut from the public broadcasters since 2014.
As part of its core review principles, Labor has pledged to ensure that:
• Australians are able to enjoy Australian screen stories in an online environment across a range of media;
• a consistent set of local content obligations and incentives should apply across all platforms and access models; and
• a diversity of services should provide a diversity of Australian content.
“During more than 40 years in this business I've seen the huge difference a supportive government can make to the health of our industry,” said Australian screen icon and MEAA Equity member Bryan Brown.
“Right now, we are in dire need of policies that support Australian stories and Australian storytellers,” said Brown. “I’m standing with the tens of thousands of Make it Australian supporters calling for a Government that supports stories by us, for us, about us.”
“We’ve been through five reviews in six years, with more than $400 million in cuts to the ABC, SBS and Screen Australia,” said award-winning Australian director, Gillian Armstrong.
“It’s time to move beyond restating problems to implementing solutions – that is, restoring funding arrangements that underpin our industry and ensuring Australian stories can be told across all platforms, particularly streaming services,” said Armstrong.
In the lead up to the election and beyond MEAA will continue lobbying and campaigning vigorously to ensure both the stage and screen sectors receive long overdue funding restorations and urgent updates to outdated regulatory frameworks.