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Wednesday, 11 December 1974
Page: 3365

Senator James McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Has the attention of the Minister for the Media been drawn to expressions of some concern in the film industry in Australia that the funds available for the Australian Film Development Corporation may not be adequate to provide for a continuing flow of production and employment in this industry in the next 6 or 7 months? Does the Minister regard the $364,000 provided to the Corporation in this year's Budget as adequate support for the film industry? Will he take steps to ensure that the work opportunities created in the past 2 years are not put at risk by a decline in the Australian Government's financial support for the film industry?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -The honourable senator will remember that earlier this year the Government took a decision to legislate for the establishment of an Australian Film Commission. In making that announcement I mentioned that the Government was setting aside an additional $3.5m for assistance in the development of an Australian indigenous film industry. The legislation was introduced into this chamber in the current sessional period, but the Opposition would not agree to certain clauses in the Bill. Because those clauses were rejected by the Senate I, on behalf of the Government, had to declare the Bill as having failed to pass the Senate. Therefore the industry was deprived of the assistance of this additional $3. 5m.

I can also tell the honourable senator, that at the time of the consideration of the legislation I was in the course of negotiating with my colleague the Treasurer for an additional $1.7m to be made available to the industry during this financial year in the event of the successful passage of the legislation. However, the legislation not having been agreed to by the Opposition, some make-do sort of operation had to be engaged in. I can now inform the Senate that following a review of the levels of investment by the Film Development Corporation I have been recently in touch with my colleague the Federal Treasurer seeking his agreement to a proposal that the Film Development Corporation extend its commitments this financial year by an additional $450,000. The Treasurer has advised me that, depending on the course of the cash flows from the Australian Film Development Corporation in the next two or three months, he agrees that this additional $450,000 should be made available to the Corporation to enable it to continue its investment policies throughout the remainder of this financial year.

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