Union adds to local quotas call

The temporary suspension of content obligations for new Australian drama, comedy and children’s content on commercial television must be lifted, says the union for performers and crew.

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance have added their voice to the call by Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell for the reinstatement of content regulations as soon as possible.

They argue the temporary suspension of quotas during the pandemic should return so that broadcasters commission new programs for 2021.

“The regulators need to give a clear commitment that audiences can expect to see new Australian drama, documentary and kids programs as usual in 2021,” said MEAA chief executive Paul Murphy.

“While they fail to act, broadcasters will continue to hold off on locking in commissions of new work, leaving Australians audiences without seeing their stories on screen, and killing thousands of jobs in the screen industry.

“With the new COVID Safe guidelines, the industry has demonstrated that screen production can take place safely, so there is nothing to hold back the return of content obligations for commercial broadcasters.

“The federal government was recently proactive in announcing a new $400 million in funding for offshore film production. Now we need to see a similar commitment by the government to Australian stories on screen by resuming our existing local content rules.”

But Free TV Australia argues networks are continuing to make local content, including RFDS, Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries and Five Bedrooms. Whilst Reality commissions dominate latest announcements, networks are pushing for deregulation, and a call to drop drama, documentary and children’s sub-quotas.

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