Australia's Nine Network and Macquarie Bank have launched a new production investment fund with the aim of raising at least $12.3m - after the partnership's inaugural fund last year raised $13.3m out of a hoped-for $35m.

The Nine Network and Macquarie Bank today (March 4) lodged a prospectus with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission aimed at raising a minimum of $12.3m (A$20m) through an unlisted managed fund for the production of a portfolio of film and television.

This is the second outing for the fund-raising partnership, whose efforts last year added two new films to Australia's small annual slate, Under The Radar and Gettin' Square, both of which are in post-production. At least two films will again be produced if the offer excites investors, with Hoyts distributing them in Australia.

This is the fourth time in five years that the investment bank has expanded the small pool of money available to Australian producers with the help of private investors, who can claim a 100% tax deduction for signing on. In this offer, a distribution guarantee from Nine will ensure investors get a minimum of 55% of their investment back over five years.

The only project certain to be produced under the scheme is the third series of McLeod's Daughters. It could be that a decision is not made about the other television projects and the features until days before the June 30 investment deadline. This year no upper limit has been specified.

Investors who tip in $153,000 (A$250,000) or more will this time receive a book of 100 cinema tickets, an invitation to the film premieres and opening cocktail parties, and various pieces of movie memorabilia.

The bank raised $920,000 in 1999, then $9m in 2000, under the government-sanctioned pilot scheme known as the FLIC fund, then $13.3m last year in the Macquarie/Nine fund.

Ten feature films have benefited, seven of which have also been subsidised by the Film Finance Corporation.

The Australian Government has yet to make a decision about whether the FLICs will be continued.