The Make it Australian campaign – made up of Screen Producers Australia (SPA), Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), the Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG), and the Australian Directors Guild (ADG) - has welcomed Labor’s announcement that, if elected, a Shorten Labor Government will modernise the policy and regulatory settings that support Australian and children’s screen content in the converged media environment.
Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland MP, addressed an audience of almost 500 people at Fox Studios and over livestreaming on Wednesday night - including producers, directors, writers, actors, broadcasters and streaming services like Netflix.
Ms Rowland congratulated the Make It Australian campaign for it effectiveness, acknowledged the sector’s efforts in various reviews and announced Labor’s plans on the way forward. If elected, a Shorten Labor Government will convene a Taskforce to conclude the Australian and Children’s Screen Content Review ‘swiftly’ with implementation of the new scheme to be effected ‘as soon as practicable’.
The Taskforce will canvas options to get the settings right for the production and transmission of Australian and children’s screen content, as well as to assess the impact of regulatory proposals to avoid any negative unintended consequences.
Labor has articulated its core review principles as being that:
Australians must be able to enjoy Australian screen stories in an online environment across a range of media;
all content services in the business of providing Australians with professional content, that meet certain scale and service criteria should be contributing to the health and sustainability of our screen content sector;
a consistent set of obligations and incentives should apply across all platforms and access models; and
a diversity of services should provide a diversity of Australian content.“During more than 40 years in this business I've seen the huge difference a supportive government can make to the health of our industry” said Australian screen icon, Bryan Brown.
“Right now, we are in dire need of policies that support Australian stories and Australian storytellers”, said Brian. “I'm standing with the tens of thousands of Make it Australian supporters calling for a Government that supports stories by us, for us, about us.”
Ms Rowland addressed how a Shorten Labor Government would support the screen ecosystem “from the bottom up”, acknowledging the critical importance that public broadcasters and screen agencies play.
In her keynote speech, “The Way Forward”, she signalled Tony Burke MP, Shadow Minister for the Arts, will soon launch Labor’s Arts and Culture policy.
“We’ve been through five reviews in six years, with more than $400 Million in cuts to the ABC, SBS and Screen Australia”, said award-winning Australian feature film and documentary director, Gillian Armstrong.
“It’s seriously time to move beyond restating problems and start implementing solutions – that is, restoring funding arrangements that underpin our industry and ensuring Australian stories can be told across all platforms, particularly streaming services”, said Gillian.
SPA CEO Matthew Deaner said “We thank Michelle for her generous support of the campaign and careful attention to the longstanding competition issues and much needed reform to evolve the regulations and incentives in our sector.”
The Make it Australian campaign will soon publish an Election Scorecard outlining the policy commitments from each of the major parties in the lead up to the Federal Election.
Do you support the #makeitaustralian campaign? We invite you to take action by emailing your Federal MP here.
Download Labor’s media release here.
Download Michelle Rowland MP’s speech, “The Way Forward”, here.