Screen Australia sees more cash stripped away in budget while The Conversation loses funding

Screen AustraliaScreen Australia has been hit with a further funding cut of nearly $1m per year in yesterday’s budget whilst the government also confirmed The Conversation will not receive any more funding.

The cuts mean Australia’s main funding body for TV and movies will need to find $910,000 in efficiencies over the next four years, after seeing $38m taken out of its funds in last year’s budget.

Whilst Screen Australia is remaining tight-lipped on the impact, other than to stress “no individual programs will be specifically targeted”, Screen Producers Australia CEO Matthew Deaner warned the cuts could come out of project investment as the organisation has already had to scale back office functions.

He said the reductions were a further blow to the organisation, describing them as “significant and major”.

“Our concerns about disproportionate cuts to Screen Australia 12 months ago are amplified following this year’s Budget announcement,” Deaner said. “To compound $38m in cuts with a further $3.6m over the coming four years will seriously impact the screen industry.

“This further cut of almost $1 million per year is both significant and major. Screen Australia’s investment in feature film, drama and documentaries is critical to supporting the small businesses in our sector and the content they create for Australian and global audiences.”

The cuts will result in “less investment in diversity”, he warned, stressing the Government must balance the cuts by increasing the producer offset for television “with guarantees that will ensure this benefit remains with the small businesses that make up the independent production sector”.

ConversationMeanwhile, The Conversation must now go it alone financially after the Government confirmed it will pull funding for the online publication

Education minister Christopher Pyne had flagged the funding cut last week, saying The Conversation had signed a contract with the Commonwealth that stated it would be self-sustaining in three years.

This morning it released a circular to readers saying it had hoped for two more years of funding to take it through to 2017 when “our aim is to be fully self sufficient…through the contributions from our global network”. It stressed international operations in the UK, US, India and Africa were locally funded.

“We must now take stock,” wrote editor and founder Andrew Jaspan asking readers to make a donation to help fill the $1m per year support, which is 25 per cent of its budget.

“By doing so you will help secure the future of The Conversation, and allow us to further develop and improve our service both in Australia and through our global network,” he added.

Steve Jones and Alex Hayes



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