A coalition of Australian children’s content producers is urging the government to revisit its policy shift in regards to quotas for kids’ programming.
At the end of last month, the Australian government unveiled a revamped content quota system, eliminating the quota for local kids’ content on commercial broadcasters. A coalition of Australian Children’s Screen Producers is urging Communications Minister Paul Fletcher to review this new policy shift “and work with us to implement reforms that are workable and sustainable.”
Unless changes are made, the sector will lose thousands of jobs and production companies will be forced to close, the coalition says. “In abolishing the free-to-air quotas for children’s content, with no corresponding legislation in place for the streamers or other adjustments, the federal government has left the sector stranded. We producers must find the means to sustain our industry through a period of uncertainty around funding and regulation. This is despite a long consultation period between the industry and government that was intended to avoid just this scenario. In the current conditions, these changes will leave only one readily available open door for producers, the ABC, which, with its significantly reduced funding for children’s content, cannot commission new work for the next two years, leaving the independent production sector with nowhere to go.”
Without local commissions, producers will not be able to access the tax offsets that have long made Australia a key co-pro partner in the kids’ sector. “The change will also impact on the production of programs through the Australian Government’s co-production treaty arrangements, as the license fees and broadcaster commissions were an essential element in producers reaching the minimum finance requirements of these treaties. If we can’t bring that finance to the table, we can’t finance and produce Australian intellectual property at a viable volume for worldwide distribution.”