Streaming Service Investment Scheme
The AGSC and APRA AMCOS has responded to the proposed Streaming Services Reporting and Investment Scheme.
- The AGSC and APRA AMCOS called for the swift introduction of a 20% Australian commissioned content expenditure requirement on global streaming businesses. The proposed 5% investment threshold is not sustainable.
- The AGSC and APRA AMCOS submitted that the Scheme must include mechanisms for the mandatory inclusion of local Heads of Department and specifically local key music professions, such as “Head of Music” or “Director of Music” in any investment-related definition of Australian content.
Broadcasting Amendments Legislation Bill
The AGSC has supported the latest APRA AMCOS submission to the government regarding the Income Tax Assessment (Digital Games Tax Offset) Bill 2021: Measure for Consultation.
- The growth of the digital games sector in Australia from the introduction of an offset will have a direct impact on the livelihoods of songwriters and composers
- The AGSC and APRA AMCOS welcomes the inclusion of “musicians (including composer) and sound designers” as qualifying Australian development expenditure but suggest the drafting of the legislation states qualifying expenditure is for “songwriters, composers, musicians, sound designers and performers” which would be clearer and more comprehensive of music and sound production.
- The AGSC and APRA AMCOS note that the use of copyright material is excluded in qualifying Australian development expenditure. We urge the Treasury to review the exclusion of copyright material as rebate-able expenditure and propose the inclusion of copyright material with a cap on the amount of expenditure. This ensures consistency with the Screen Producer offset arrangements and ensures that small to medium local studios benefit fully from the offset.
Broadcasting Amendments Legislation Bill
The Government sought to pass a bill that reduced the obligation of pay TV broadcasters (significantly Foxtel) to invest in Australian content. The Bill sought to amend the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 to:
- Reduce the expenditure required by subscription television broadcasting licensees on new eligible drama expenditure from 10 per cent to 5 per cent
The Senate Committee reviewing this bill recommended that the proposal to have subscription television’s local drama quota be withdrawn.
The AGSC wrote a submission together with APRA AMCOS to this proposed legislation and was a signatory to the combined Australian submission proposing the legislation remain unchanged.
Media: Senate Committee recommends keeping Foxtel Drama Quota intact
May – December 2021
Screen Production Incentives Legislation
December 2021 Update
Historic Victory for the advocacy of our industry
After twelve months of intense lobbying by the Australian Guild of Screen Composers and APRA AMCOS, in partnership with producers, writers, directors and the documentary, post-production and visual effects screen sector, new legislation will see a significant boost to local screen production, and enhance the livelihoods of screen composers.
Yesterday parliament passed legislation that not only increased the Producer Offset for television productions from 20 to 30 per cent but also removed proposed amendments that stood to adversely affect the telling of so many important Australian stories.
The Bill includes a welcomed a measure to increase the Producer Offset for eligible films not released in cinemas (aka by the screen industry as television content) from 20% to 30%, alongside the removal of the 65 hour cap for scripted content as qualifying expenditure. Other measures that were retained were the Gallipoli Clause, the current qualifying expenditure thresholds of $500K for documentary and post-production. The cap on copyright material able to be claimed against the offset has been increased to 50% of overall budget for the next 2 years, a welcome relief from the proposed 30% cap.
Read all about this historic win for the screen sector in the joint AGSC and APRA AMCOS Media Statement here.
Media: Offset Reform passes, QAPE offset threshold to remain at $500K , Gallipoli Clause remains – IF Media 1 Nov 2021
Media: Local TV and Film wins as government agrees to more generous tax breaks – SMH 1 Nov 2021
August 2021 Update
The Government issued the Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No. 5) Bill 2021 in early August 2021, following a Draft Exposure Bill in May. The Bill was passed by the Lower House of Representatives on 10 August. The Bill is being reviewed by the Senate Committee for the Environment and Communications in preparation for the Senate vote after 20 August 2021. Key to this Bill is the increase from 20% to 30% for the Producer Offset applying to eligible films not released in cinemas.
The AGSC made a joint submission with APRA AMCOS in response to the Bill and is a signatory on a combined submission from the Australian Screen Industry Guilds and Associations network (ASIGA).
On 20 August 2021, the AGSC and APRA AMCOS were invited to participate a witnesses to a Senate Committee Hearing for this Bill. Four panels of industry representatives spoke during the 3 hour hearing, with Antony Partos representing the AGSC. Dean Ormston from APRA AMCOS supported us by speaking directly with Senators, letting them know why this Bill should not pass in its present form.
We are urging the Senate to not vote for the Bill with all the detrimental measures included, but to vote for a Bill which keeps the 30% offset increase and the removal of 65 episode cap, and OMITS the rest, so it can pass through parliament.
May 2021 Update
The Government issued the Treasury Laws Amendments (2021 Measures No. 5) Draft Exposure Bill in May 2021.
The AGSC responded in a joint submission with APRA AMCOS as well as a combined submission from the ASIGA network. We advocated for reforms that would support a sustainable industry by raising the non-feature films Producer Offset from 20% to 30%. In addition, maintaining qualifying expenditure thresholds to allow lower budget productions to claim the offset, which includes the majority of stand alone and series documentaries, as well as low-budget feature films.
Media: Feature Documentary makers in desperate fight to protect funding
The Government has drafted a bill of proposed changes to our tax laws that affect screen production incentives including the following:
- Producer Offset
- Post, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) Offset
- Qualifying Expenditure Thresholds for accessing the Offsets.
These measures affect the ability of productions to claim the expenditure which allows them to be viable and create the documentaries, low budget films and other content which underpin the Australian screen production output.
December 2020 – January 2021
Film Victoria 2021-2025 Screen Industry Strategic Plan & Screen Industry Survey
Film Victoria’s 2021-2025 Screen Industry Strategic Plan
At the end of 2020, AGSC secretary and Board Member Dale Cornelius met with Ross Hutchens, Head of Screen Industry Programs at Film Victoria, following Film Victoria’s consultation with the screen industry for the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan.
The meeting covered a number of concerns for Victorian-based screen composers, and many across the country. COVID-19 was discussed, as well as incoming reforms to content legislation and policy, including changes to tax offsets and raising of offset thresholds.
Click the button below to read Dale’s letter to our Victorian members. We urge all of our members to read this letter, as other states may be experiencing similar conditions. The AGSC is here to help advocate and lobby for change and to help our members where we can.
Read here for member Dale Cornelius’ letter to our Victorian members.
Film Victoria’s Screen Industry Survey
The AGSC submitted a response to questions for organisations in the Film Victoria Strategic Plan survey at the end of 2020, and called for input from Vicotrian-based members, in early 2021.
Our response was largely informed by the issues we pursued in 2020. These included concerns on screen content reform policies, the diminishing of production due to Covid-19 with the industry shutdown in the first half of the year and Australian screen composers not being used for productions receiving government funding.
Digital Games Tax Offset
Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia’s Creative and Cultural Industries and Institutions
In September 2020, an inquiry was called for by Arts Minister Paul Fletcher. The AGSC made a submission to this inquiry, headed by Dr David Gillespie from the Nationals.
The Terms of Reference for the inquiry were:
- The direct and indirect economic benefits and employment opportunities of creative and cultural industries and how to recognise, measure and grow them
- The non-economic benefits that enhance community, social wellbeing and promoting Australia’s national identity, and how to recognise, measure and grow them
- The best mechanism for ensuring cooperation and delivery of policy between layers of government
- The impact of COVID-19 on the creative and cultural industries, and
- Avenues for increasing access and opportunities for Australia’s creative and cultural industries through innovation and the digital environment.