Joint with Tony Burke MP, Shadow Minister for the Arts.
After close to six years in office, and after three screen sector reviews, the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government waited until the eleventh hour of the 45th Parliament to unveil a minor tweak to a couple of refundable tax offsets to support online platforms.
Scott Morrison’s screen statement is a joke.
This lazy, inept and lopsided foray into screen policy completely misses the mark.
It characterises Senator Mitch Fifield’s term as Minister for Communications and the Arts – late, inadequate and piecemeal blundering to support big business at the expense of local creatives and diversity.
After commencing a “comprehensive review of Australian and children’s screen content”, the Liberals have announced virtually nothing to bolster Australian and children’s screen content.
After consulting to identify “the most effective support mechanisms for the Australian screen production sector”, the Liberals have sidestepped the issues our domestic broadcasters and independent screen production sector need addressed.
The measures announced by the Liberals mean Australian taxpayers will subsidise streaming services, including Netflix and Amazon Prime, to shoot or produce content in Australia without any commensurate obligation that it be Australian or children’s screen content that is made.
Labor supports attracting international investment to Australia, but it beggars belief that the Liberals would make it harder for our local sector to compete with international platforms, and there is a real question as to whether the changes to the offsets incentivise more or less Australian content.
Labor supports Australian stories and the entire Australian screen ecosystem.
Labor recognises that content quotas, independent producers and broadcasters do the heavy lifting when it comes to sustaining Australian and children’s screen content.
The screen industry is undergoing significant change – it needs a vision for the future, and holistic modernisation of the policy and regulatory framework, not the Liberals undermining Australian content and diversity at every turn.
While this announcement might get Mitch Fifield a few happy snaps at film premieres, it leaves the broader sector underwhelmed and disappointed.