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Budget outcome another blow to TV Production Industry

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NEWS RELEASE T u e sd a y 12 M a y 1998

Budget Outcome another blow to TV Production Industry

Just two weeks after the High Court overturned Australian content rules the TV production industry has been dealt another blow by the Budget. ~JeA.e^w

Through the Budget the Government has cut $14.2 million from its investment in television production. This continues a trend which has seen direct support to the film and television industry decline by 25% since the Government came to power.

“The Government says it i; committed to maintaining a sustainable, internationally competitive industry, but each Budget secs its investment in industry development reduced,” said Tom Jeffrey, President, Screen Producers Association of Australia, “Frankly, the industry is losing faith in the Government’s commitment,"

This year’s cuts come from the decision not to continue the Commercial Television Production Fund, run by the Australian Film Commission to assist independent television production of mim-series, telemovies and documentaries.

“This scheme was producing successful programs for a modest amount of Government investment,” said Mr Nick Herd, Executive Director, SPAA, “Producers will now find it much harder to finance production of high quality Australian television drama.”

The industry welcomes continued funding for SBS Independent but has warned of a downturn in television production and increased pressure on the shrinking amount of Government funding.

The industry is also sceptical the Government’s proposal to set up Film Licensed Investment Companies (FLIC's) will work. Promised last year, the FLIC’s were to inject up to S20M per annum through concessional private investment.-There is little confidence this revamp of tax incentives for private investment will prove

sufficiently attractive to bring much additional money to the industry,

“This latest Government decision has further undermined industry confidence. We now have increasing instability a n d uncertainty about production finance at a time when support for Australian content on television has been called into question by the High Court.

The Government needs to make good on its stated commitment to a stable industry by restoring the funding base and bringing certainty to the regulation of Australian content on television." said Mr Herd.

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