This week’s budget in Australia delivered more pain for the industry in the shape of a further AU$3.6 million of cuts being imposed on the agency which saw AU$38 million of cuts imposed last year.
Last year’s cuts were largely absorbed internally, with limited effect on production although some cuts were made to development funding. “There’s no point developing stuff that is not going to get funded,” Screen Australia’s Graeme Mason told Variety ahead of this week’s announcement.
Screen Producers Australia (SPA) issued a statement in response to the budget cuts, with CEO Matthew Deaner saying, “Screen Australia’s investment in feature film, drama and documentaries is critical to supporting the small businesses in our sector and the content they create for Australian and global audiences. These cuts are likely to come out of project investment following the existing operational efficiencies that have been implemented. As a result there will certainly be less investment in diversity.”
Deaner called on the government to reduce the effect of the cuts, continuing, “The Government must act to balance these cuts by immediately increasing the producer offset for television, with guarantees that will ensure this benefit remains with the small businesses that make up the independent production sector.”
Screen Australia will make cuts across its finding strands to meet the new targets. In the last week, Screen Australia has announced funding of over AU$3 million, for projects including Ivan Sen’s next feature Goldstone, a second round of Skip Ahead (in partnership with YouTube), and eight documentary projects.