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Monday, 26 March 2018
Page: 2188

Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaMinister for Communications, Minister for the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (21:34): As I've said already, what was announced shortly before the budget is what was agreed to and determined by the government in the context of the budget preparation. So I can't further interrogate any number that has come out of the budget process because what comes out of the budget is what is decided in the budget process. I will have to leave that there.

In answer to Senator Hanson-Young's question about whether it was inappropriate that people who want to watch subscription TV need to be subscribers, I would point out to Senator Hanson-Young that Screen Australia, for instance, supports productions such as Secret City which was on Foxtel. You can't watch Secret City unless you have a Foxtel subscription. Secret City was supported by taxpayer dollars. That's not a bad analogy because it demonstrates that taxpayer dollars are put towards good purposes in broadcast—be it women's sport or be it Secret City. I haven't heard anyone say, 'Well, Screen Australia shouldn't give money to Secret City because you've got to subscribe to pay TV.' We also have Screen Australia funding and a number of taxpayer-funded incentives that go to produce major Australian feature films. To watch one of those major Australian feature films, you have to go to a cinema and probably pay $18—that's $18 for just one screening. But I haven't heard anyone say, 'Well, that's outrageous that I've got to pay $18 to go and see a film that taxpayers' money has gone towards.'

If the proposition here is that enhanced women's sport isn't appropriate, then it wouldn't be appropriate that Screen Australia money went to Secret City because you'd have to be a subscriber to Foxtel to see that; and it wouldn't be right that taxpayer money went to support major feature films because you'd have to buy a ticket to go and see that. Obviously, I think it's appropriate that Screen Australia supports Secret City; it's appropriate that we have taxpayer support for major Australian feature films; and what we are doing in relation to women's sport is also appropriate.