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Thursday, 2 April 1987
Page: 1737

Senator CHILDS —My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment, concerns the options for the future of Film Australia as outlined in a paper by the Australian Film Commission's Megan McMurchy and Les Neilson from the Department of Arts, Heritage and Environment. Does the Minister agree that option 4 as outlined in the paper is the most desirable option for the future of Film Australia, given that it will preserve a co-ordinating function in relation to departmental production and support a continuing national program? Does the Minister also agree that option 4 is the best option for the future, given that it does not necessarily rest on narrow economic grounds; provides a degree of support for a natural film industry; will facilitate cultural exchange; and will ensure the continuance of specialised areas such as ethnographic film production?

Senator RYAN —On behalf of the Minister, I point out that he is shortly to bring to Cabinet a submission on future options for the Australian Film Commission, so it is not possible at this stage to prejudge what the position might be. Mr Cohen points out that there is some attraction for option B. Mr Cohen says that, as he understands it, the adoption of this option would lead to a leaner and more efficient organisation but would maintain Film Australia in its present location with its essential function as government film maker. The review of Film Australia was undertaken because the Government is concerned that its operations should be as efficient and cost effective as possible. At the same time, future economic grounds are not the sole justification for some activities, particularly in the cultural field. Obviously, when the Cabinet has considered Mr Cohen's position and arrived at a decision, that will be made public.