The Australian Labor Party today pledged that if it wins theOctober 9 election it will provide one-off cash injections of $35m (A$50m) for theFilm Finance Corporation (FFC) and $14m for the Australian Film Commission(AFC), half of which will be for a low budget feature fund.
The FFC got $43m in taxpayer funding for investing infeature, television drama and documentary production in 2004/05. It will decidehow it spends this additional $35m.
This is a stop-gap measure only, aimed at immediatelyaddressing the "state of crisis" in the industry and the"dramatic" downturn in film and television production levels, saidshadow arts minister Kate Lundy. In the longer term Labor will institute areview and develop a "Blueprint for Growth" that encompasses publicand private funding, and all aspects of the development, production anddistribution processes.
"Australian voices and stories have been underminedunder the Howard Government," said Lundy, who also spoke about the need tokeep pace with international developments in digital content. The remaining$7m for the AFC is for an interactive digital content strategy. The AFC getsabout $14m per year.
The other key inclusion in Labor's arts policy is anadditional $73m for the ABC over the next four years. It will be up to thenational broadcaster to determine how much goes into television production.
The Liberal Party is expected to release its own policyshortly. It has been in power since 1996.