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Budget 2009: Labor cuts $9.5 million from Screen Australia Budget.

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Mon, 18th May 2009

Labor cuts $9.5 million from Screen Australia Budget

Mr Steven Ciobo MP Shadow Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors, Tourism and the Arts

Australia’s screen production development agency has been handed a huge setback with Labor’s Budget cutting funding for Screen Australia by $9.5 million, Shadow Arts Minister Steven Ciobo said.

“Kevin Rudd and Labor have let down Australia’s vibrant and energetic film and documentary industry, slashing spending for Screen Australia, from $31.4 million to $21.9 million,” Mr Ciobo said.

“There is less money to support Australia’s film, television, documentary and digital media makers over the next 12 months, yet they’re expected to help pay off Labor’s record net debt of $188 billion.

“There is absolutely no reason why Australia can’t produce its own cinema blockbusters, given we have some of the industries best writers, producers and actors, as long as the Rudd Labor Government continues the Coalition’s commitment to Screen Australia.

“How can Labor maintain it is a strong advocate for the arts when Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan slash total funding for Australia’s screen production development agency, Screen Australia, by one-third?

“The Australian film sector was given a huge boost by the former Coalition Government in 2007/08, with the announcement of a $282.9 million package to further stimulate the Australian film industry.

“The former Coalition Government introduced the extremely popular Producer Offset to encourage Australian made film and television production by directly providing funding to film producers.

“To further stimulate the film sector, the Coalition increased the Location Offset by 15 per cent to provide an incentive for foreign film makers to produce their film in Australia.

“It is evident the former Coalition Government was committed to harnessing opportunities that would build a film industry in Australia that was recognised internationally for its competitiveness.

“Labor’s decision to reduce spending for Screen Australia is a huge setback for Australia’s film and television industry which has been working hard to strengthen productions down under.

“The merging of the Film Finance Corporation, the Australian Film Commission and Film Australia Limited into Screen Australia, under the Coalition, has provided enhanced support for the Australian film industry. Labor needs to show greater commitment to the arts, in particular the film industry.”