01 December, 2021
The Australian Writers’ Guild celebrates the passage through Parliament of legislative changes to federal tax incentives that will promote investment in the screen sector and provide appropriate tax support for local writer-producers. A series of amendments to the Bill were passed yesterday which have safeguarded access to the incentives, ensuring that feature-length documentary and filmmakers with a minimum expenditure of $500,000 remain eligible for the feature film Producer Offset at 40%. The Producer Offset for television productions has increased from 20% to 30%, while the Gallipoli clause and minimum expenditure thresholds for feature-length content to qualify for the Producer and Post, Digital and Visual Effects Offsets have been retained.
The AWG has fought hard since September 2020 to protect the Gallipoli clause, originally slated for removal by the Government. The Gallipoli clause allows feature filmmakers to claim expenditure for Australian story elements shot offshore. The AWG argued that removing the Gallipoli clause would create further barriers for Australian film and documentary, since it would be more costly to conduct overseas interviews or film in international locations.
AWG President Shane Brennan said, ‘We have reached this outcome after years of campaigning. The AWG has been at the forefront of this push, working with SPA, ADG and MEAA as part of the Make it Australian coalition, attending countless meetings, roundtable discussions and a Senate hearing. We have visited Parliament House on numerous occasions to talk with politicians and help get this legislation across the line. Thank you to every member who sent emails to MPs and Senators on these issues.’
‘As the industry recovers from the impact of COVID-19, it is pleasing to see this recognition of the importance of Australian screenwriting jobs. The passage of measures to increase the level of support for film and television production is so welcome to our members. These changes will encourage investment and result in more opportunities for AWG members in our sector, and our members should be proud of how hard they worked for this outcome,’ said AWG Executive Director Claire Pullen.
The AWG remains committed to another key message of the industry’s Make it Australian campaign: streaming services should have to invest 20 per cent of locally sourced revenue in producing Australian content. This recommendation was supported by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts in late October in a report titled Sculpting a National Cultural Plan. The sector awaits Minister Fletcher’s findings from the Media Reform Green Paper. The modernisation of television regulation is imperative to a sustainable and thriving screen industry, and to protecting Australian screen stories into the future.