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Friday, 1 June 1984
Page: 2366

Senator MARTIN(12.32) —I notice that the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs (Senator Ryan) is not here and neither are any officers. They are coming in now.

Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle —Senator Walsh is here.

Senator MARTIN —Senator Walsh is here, yes, but I had indicated to the Minister' s office that I would ask some questions and asked that the replies be here. In one case I gave several days notice of a question. I am not sure whether answers to questions I asked yesterday would be here today. During the hearing of the Committee I asked a question about the number of feature films in production in Australia and asked for a breakdown of films being produced under the taxation concessions that have applied since the 1983 Budget. That information was supplied and it states:

The Australian Film Commission has advised that, based on its contacts with the industry, it estimates that the number of feature films and mini-series currently in production including pre and post production including pre and post production, to be:-

Feature films 13

Mini-series of television drama 5

A further breakdown was given showing that of those, eight feature films and three mini-series of television dramas came under the 1983 provisions, namely the 133 per cent taxation deduction. My question was: Could I have the names of those feature films and mini-series of television drama? That was the question on which I gave several days notice. I wonder whether the officers can provide the answer to Senator Walsh. I did suggest to the Minister's office that it may be in a form that could be incorporated in Hansard.

Senator Walsh —I am advised that Senator Ryan has it and I will see whether she, or failing that, the list, can be got down here.

Senator MARTIN —Thank you. I did ask some other questions yesterday and perhaps Senator Walsh can indicate whether this information is also available and, if not, whether it is yet to come and when we will get it. The answer also contained this statement:

Reliable figures on films of a like nature (to a feature film) produced for exhibition on television and documentaries are not available to the Commission. As an indication of current production levels for these, the number of active Australian Film Industry Trust Fund Accounts established with the Department of Home Affairs and Environment as at 1 May 1984 was:-

Films of a like nature (to a feature film) 8

Documentaries 79

The question that arises out of that that I direct to the Minister now is: Why are the figures for films of a like nature not available to the Commission? I would have thought that those films all come under the provisions of Division 10BA of the Income Tax Assessment Act and therefore that there would be records available on these sorts of productions. I would like an explanation of just what the term 'films of a like nature to a feature film' is. I take it that they may well be films made for television. But is that their limit? I had also asked how much had been raised for the financing of the making of films under the 1983 provisions. In other words, how much money is in the trust account under the 1983 provisions? I also asked for a breakdown of the amounts, that is, how much is deposited for feature films versus other types of productions, and what are the names of those feature films. I note that Senator Ryan has just arrived in the chamber and may be able to extract the information I have sought.