The Austrian Film Institute is to get a substantial increase in its 2002 budget from Euros 7.4m to Euros 9.8m, in order to give its national film industry a better profile in the European arena.

Austria's Secretary of State for Arts Franz Morak, announced the increase at a parliamentary hearing on the future prospects for Austrian cinema.

Morak explained that he was taking the step "so that more funds can be channelled into production support, and that, above all, young filmmakers who haven't participated in funding so far, can profit from this measure".

He stressed, however, that "without investors and additional sources of finance, we will not be able to reach the desired effects in order to establish Austria as a location for media and film".

In addition, Morak argued for the introduction of private commercial television in Austria, which would represent "a great potential for Austrian cinema"; called on a "significantly better financial provision" for the Film/Television Co-production Accord (which has not been increased since 1994) and called for the introduction of tax write-offs for investments in film production as part of the Austrian Federal Governments current tax reform plans.