Film & TV

Mar 4, 2011

Taxpayer dollars head to Hollywood

In screen policy, an open-ended and uncapped tax subsidy is considered a good thing. The bigger the film, the larger the tax-payer contribution, writes Ben Eltham.

Ben Eltham — <em>Crikey</em> arts commentator

Ben Eltham

Crikey arts commentator

The federal government has just finished a review of federal film financing arrangements — and given itself a rather large pat on the back. The result is an endorsement of film financing arrangements in which more and more taxpayers money is being given to Hollywood studios.

Confirming Sir Humphrey Appleby’s famous principle that you should “never commission an inquiry without knowing the outcome first”, the federal Arts Department’s 2010 Review of the Australian Independent Screen Production Sector makes a series of rosy findings about the state of the sector and the effectiveness of the government’s Australian Screen Production Incentive, a large tax refund to film producers.

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3 thoughts on “Taxpayer dollars head to Hollywood

  1. Vincent O'Donnell

    Actually, the decade of the 1980s saw the best box office performance by Australian films since the renaissance of the 1970s. In two years the Australian slice reached 20 per cent and in a two further years topped 10 per cent. The turing point was 1988, coincidentally at least, the year the Australian Film Finance Corporation came on stream marking a policy break with the past and new funding models.

    From there box office performance was a stright line down to around 1 per cent in 2004, with just a blip in 1996 for Strictly Ballroom and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

    The question remains: is government support to maintain a film industry in Australia or build an Australian film industry.

    At the moment government policy is supporting the former, at a real cost to Australian culture.

  2. zut alors

    This seems to be the norm in the 21st century ie: corporations and their associated heavies take the cream while the little bloke struggles for survival. Is the gap getting worse across the board or is it merely my imagination?

  3. Surashen

    there is actually an Australian indie TV production i would like you guys to give coverage to. their cast is a good Aussie cast with one Brit in there too, and the teaser they have released looks soooooooooo interesting compared to what’s on TV atm. anyway i love you blog and would love to see this get some coverage (yes i know the people involved) – seriously take a look – oh and they have a party on the 31st as a fundraiser with media welcome. go Aussie tv!


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