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Thursday, 16 June 2005
Page: 64

Senator COLBECK (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) (12:56 PM) —In the Film Licensed Investment Company Bill 2005 and the Film Licensed Investment Company (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2005 the government has introduced a package of measures worth $88 million over four years to strengthen the local film and television sector. The package is aimed at attracting greater levels of private finance, redressing the current downturn in local production, and keeping the sector competitive through script and skills development. The package is carefully balanced. Strategic intervention takes a whole-of-industry approach. It is comprehensive and acknowledges that there is no single quick fix that can address the current challenges. The increases in direct funding to Australian government film agencies, recently confirmed in the 2005-06 budget, will bring total direct funding to a high of almost $160 million in 2005-06. The government is also committed to encouraging greater private sector investment in our local product, and increases in direct support are complemented by measures to make the film sector more attractive for private investors.

The extension of the Film Licensed Investment Company scheme, known as FLIC, is a key element in the government’s film package. The extended FLIC scheme seeks to encourage growth in funding from individuals and corporate entities and to restore investor confidence in the local film and television sector. The extended FLIC scheme will allow investors up to a 100 per cent up-front deduction on the purchase of FLIC shares in the year of investment. These funds will immediately flow to the FLIC, subject to certain licensing conditions being met. The FLIC must be an Australian owned and controlled company, raising funds primarily from Australian investors and qualifying Australian films. The extended scheme will allow a single FLIC licensee to raise up to $20 million over a two-year period at a total cost to revenue of $8 million in 2006-07 and 2007-08. The extension of the FLIC scheme has been welcomed by the sector as a timely intervention in a difficult market where investor confidence in Australian films is low. I commend the bills to the Senate.

Question agreed to.

Bills read a second time.