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Shadow Minister for Arts calls on actors equity to review restrictions on foreign performers

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News Release Federal Secretariat: P.O. Box E13. Queen VictoriaTerrace. A C T .2600 Tel.: (062) 7 32 56 4

Mr David Connolly, Member for Bradfield Shadow Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment


The Shadow Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment, Mr David Connolly, today called for a less restrictive Actors Equity policy on foreign performers and actors working in the Australian Arts industries.

"If Actors Equity is serious in its resolve to maintain tax incentives for the Film industry it must exercise greater responsibility in encouraging internationally viable production by permitting a controlled number of foreign performers to work in this /v.ntry.

"Increased action by Actors Equity to prohibit the importation of talent has in fact cost the Film Industry vast sums of investors money and has considerably damaged the artistic and commercial potential and integrity of Australian production..

"Actors Equity's over zealous action in defence of local employment is affecting the viability of the Australian Film Industry and may well cause loss of jobs and revenue rather than creating more jobs for Australian actors and actresses.

"Producers of the $5 million TV Mini-series, the Lancaster-Miller Affair, estimate that $500,000 has been lost through production delays Actors Equity's refusal of visas for two foreign actors. , on the basis that insufficient attempts were made to cast Australian based actors in the roles.

"Actors Equity prohibited Joseph Bottoms from playing the role of an American and Peter Firth for playing an Englishman forcing the" producers to cast Australians in these foreign roles. This action will significantly impair international acceptance of the film and consequently reduce profitability.

The Australian film industry is dependent on international marketability of production out this is being undermined by protectioni'st paranoia which is prohibiting foreign input. Australian films are becoming parochial at the cost of international acceptance.

"If we are to encourage the Australian film industry it is imperative that we retain an Australian focus but not to the exclusion of international acceptance and financial viability.

"Actors Equity has a vital role in lobbying for the interests of Australian performers and actors but responsible negotiation must be made with industry to ensure the viability of Australian Arts. A clear and enduring policy must be established to protect Australian

talent and to give film producers and arts directors reasonable parameters to work within to ensure intellectual, creative and comnercial freedom on a long-term basis, Mr Connolly said.

Contact: Tracey Carpenter

(02) 239 3199/3286

11th July 1985