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Screen Australia budget unveiled

Screen Australia, the government body set up to oversee subsidies for local TV and film productions, is to receive A$103 million (US$96.1 million) in its first year of operation.

This is a slight reduction of the combined current budgets of the Film Finance Corporation, the Australian Film Commission and Film Australia, the three bodies that will be dissolved to form the organisation.

Current projects, which include the second season of SBS’ local version of Wall to Wall format Who Do You Think You Are, animated kids series Pixel Pinkie and ABC adult drama East of Everything, will continue to be funded by individual agencies until the end of the year.

Screen Australia will launch on July 1 and will be responsible for the country’s new production tax rebate system, which is intended to boost local productions. The rebate system will offer drama, kids and factual producers a rebate of between 17% and 20% of production costs.

Brian Rosen, chief executive of the Film Finance Corporation and front runner for head of Screen Australia, told TBI last year that it hopes the move will increase production by 30% over three years. “We’re hoping for the rise of the Australian super-indie,” he said. “I definitely feel that over the next three to four years you’ll see two or three really strong TV companies. If the rebate helps, then investors will have a look and producers will be worth buying into.”