TONY BURKE MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS
MEMBER FOR WATSON
MICHELLE ROWLAND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR GREENWAY
CONTENT QUOTA CHANGES MEAN FEWER AUSTRALIAN STORIES
The Morrison Government’s changes to content quotas will mean fewer Australian stories on our television screens and fewer job opportunities for local creators.
The Government has also raised the white flag to the streaming giants – failing to follow the lead of other countries by requiring them to invest in local content and create local jobs.
Content obligations have been a central driver of the production of Australian stories for years but this Government is watering them down at a time when screen producers are already on their knees due to the coronavirus crisis. The changes will mean less local content for Aussie kids in particular.
For commercial TV, children’s content obligations are watered down. For Foxtel, content obligations has been halved. For streaming providers, there remains no obligation at all. That leaves just the ABC – which has been the target of constant Liberal cuts over the last seven years.
The extra $20 million for the Australian Children’s Television Foundation is welcome but let’s keep it in perspective: it’s less than the $27 million Fletcher paid above market value to acquire land from a Liberal donor near Badgery’s Creek.
After years of uncertainty and stagnation under the Liberals – and in the face of industry devastation – this Government decides to take the Australian screen sector for granted.
After three and half years of talk, three screen content reviews, an 18-month ACCC inquiry and an options paper process, the embattled Minister Paul Fletcher has failed to Make it Australian. He has failed the creators and small businesses that comprise the screen sector. He has failed Australians who want more Australian stories.
He has even failed his own test. Fletcher has previously announced he would harmonise the regulatory framework and address the disparity in regulation between broadcasters and online streaming services. But he has failed to deliver on that today.
This Government talks a big game about levelling the playing field with the so-called ‘digital giants’ but it has baulked at actually doing so.
A year ago, the Minister said:
“The Australian public expects the businesses that they interact with and acquire services from will be subject to regulation no more and no less than businesses that are not using the internet as a means of delivery”.
SMH, 10 July 2019
In a recent interview with Inside Film magazine, Paul Fletcher himself noted the French, German and Canadian governments are moving to require platforms like Netflix and Amazon to invest in local content.
But they were just empty words from a hypocritical and incompetent Minister who has done more to undermine Australian stories than support them.
WEDNESDAY, 30 SEPTEMBER 2020