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Nemo comes up trumps, but film industry in chaos.



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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP Shadow Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Federal Liberal Member for Murray

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Media Enquiries: Robert Hardie 02 6277 4477 / 0418 432 909

Nemo comes up trumps, but film industry in chaos

The announcement by the American Film Institute that the film, Finding Nemo, rated in the top 10 animated films of all time is a ringing endorsement for the creative efforts in the Australian film industry, Shadow Minister for the Arts, Dr Sharman Stone, said.

“However, the future successes for Australian films is shaky, given the Rudd Labor Government’s dithering in sorting out key funding issues and industry leadership priorities.

“In the 2007 Budget, the Howard Government announced plans to merge Film Australia, the Film Finance Corporation and the Australian Film Commission into Screen Australia, commencing on 1 July 2008. Before the election, the Coalition Government released an exposure draft of the legislation to create this new body.

“Six months later, there is no CEO for this new merged body and Board priorities remain vacant, deferring who or what is eligible for Australian Government financial support is still contentious with

“Australia’s world class actors, producers and designers are seeing New Zealand and Ireland are to see us as preferred film making destinations, where their government actively and enthusiastically support their local film industry, or live off share film makers. The producer of Finding Nemo, George Miller, has been amongst the many frustrated by his failure to get on going support for significant new projects.

“The Rudd Labor Government is not building on the Howard Government’s reforms to the film industry. These reforms, including changes to the offshore rebate and producer tax offsets, were innovative and important reforms, but the industry must march forward.

Dr Stone said the Rudd Labor Government needed to urgently show support for the film industry.

“Films like Finding Nemo and the creative genius behind them don’t come along every day nor do they happen by accident. Minister Garrett needs to focus on the industry, identify the new Screen Australia key players and sort out how we are to encourage our great Australian artists to future success.