"We are fighting for survival," said Catriona Hughes, chief executive of Australia's Film Finance Corporation (FFC), in reaction to the very small increases for film announced in this week's budget.
Other commentators noted that the proposed A$50m budget for the FFC, the Australian industry's biggest film investor, is only half that of Australia's most visible film of the moment, Moulin Rouge. They said that this is not enough to capitalise on Australia's obvious production talents.
Australian Screen Directors Association executive director Richard Harris said the current squeeze on the FFC, which also supports television and documentaries, makes him fear a continuation of the talent drain - at a time when international and local players are lining up to support projects that have been unable to get a green light.
Under the budget announcement the FFC will get A$50m; AFC A$16.9m; Australian Childrens Television Foundation A$2.40m; Australian Film, Television & Radio School A$17.6m; Film Australia A$6.91m; ScreenSound (archive) A$19.4m; SBS Independent A$4.6m.
There is also anger that the government has openly acknowledged the need for more development funding, but rejected development agency the Australian Film Commission's (AFC) request for additional resources. Australian Writers Guild executive director Sue McCreadie said this will have a "serious ongoing impact on writers, producers and directors".
Australian Screen Sound Guild president Stephen J Smith said the Government's failure to address issues related to post-production would affect the country's capacity to compete and become a leading global post-production player.