Screen producer’s body calls for ‘sensible approach’ over foreign actors’ work visas

SA_HEADSHOT_HI RES - CURRENTThe head of Screen Producers Australia Matthew Deaner has backed plans to relax the rules on visas for foreign actors and film crew, pointing to the changing nature of the “global marketplace”.

A government review has recommended relaxing current rules, which mean overseas talent can only be brought to Australia on a temporary 420 after being approved by Arts Minister George Brandis and after consultation with the performers’ union, and proof it will bring a net increase of jobs to the country.

However, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), which represents actors and crew, has opposed relaxing the laws with director of the Actors’ Equity section Zoe Angus, stating: “Any attempts to dismantle industry protections that have created an incredible pool of talent that includes the likes of Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Chris Hemsworth and Joel Edgerton will be fiercely resisted by MEAA and our members”.

In his response Deaner cautiously welcomed change saying it is “vital that we regularly review our competitiveness and growth, and in particular look at those mechanisms that have not been changed for many years”.

Calling for a “sensible approach he added: “We operate now more than ever in a global marketplace. Our industry benefits from this engagement. Our talented technicians, performers and creators work globally and the Australian industry in return is significantly larger than it would be if we were purely domestically oriented. We all benefit from international finance and talent. As do local and international audiences, as we deliver quality productions to their screens.

“We must ensure that our potential is not limited by uncertain, onerous and expensive bureaucratic processes that deter our local and international partners. On occasion there are projects in which the creative and commercial requirements demand our screen creators to be nimble in the way they construct their content.”



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