Pandemic support programs extend for arts

Support will continue for Australian film and TV production, allowing movies like Thor to be made.
Support will continue for Australian film and TV production, allowing movies like Thor to be made.

The Morrison government is extending two support measures introduced during the coronavirus pandemic to help boost Australia's film and television industry.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the $50 million temporary interruption fund (TIF) will be extended for a further six months, to provide coverage for productions that commence principal photography prior to December 31, 2021.

The government will also retain at 40 per cent the producer offset tax rebate rate for feature films with a theatrical release.

In addition, the government will raise the producer offset rate from 20 to 30 per cent for other eligible formats such as drama and documentary content for television and streaming platforms.

Mr Fletcher said these support measures would enable the local screen industry to continue to create quality Australian productions and keep thousands of jobs and businesses in the local production sector.

"Despite our successes in managing COVID-19 in Australia, the continuing severity of the pandemic internationally is a problem for screen production, with insurers still not providing coverage for COVID-19 related events," Mr Fletcher said in a statement on Sunday.

"TIF has been vital in providing the certainty that productions need to secure financing, and it will have assisted with more than 12,000 production roles and 5000 business contracts in its first year of operation."

The 40 per cent producer offset supports around 50 Australian feature films per year with total average rebates of around $124 million.

This injects over $300 million per year into the Australian economy, and underpins the tremendous success Australian feature films have had at the box office in recent times, Mr Fletcher said.

Australian Associated Press