Geoff Brown has been appointed executive director of the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) following the sudden resignation of Joanne Yates who joined only six months ago.

Brown, already involved with the organisation as policy manager in an acting capacity while the incumbent was on maternity leave, is a former SPAA employee who oversaw commercial and industrial affairs. It appears that divergent expectations and a lack of money, which has forced recent staff reductions, had much to do with the split between Yates and SPAA's governing council.

"SPAA earns its money from levies based on the value and volume of production and they are down because production, particularly television, is in a downturn," said president Nick Murray. "We have been doing a lot of belt tightening in the last three months, just as our members have been cutting back on staff and moving into smaller offices."

The threat of a relaxation of the local content rules on television and the Optus/Foxtel pay TV merger are among the most significant issues currently facing producers. There are also ongoing major industrial relations issues, including the proposed application of the SAG Global Rule 1 in May.