Screen Producers Association of Australia Fringe Conference

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SpeakersSartor Mr Frank; Skinner Mrs Jillian; Speaker
BusinessMinisterial Statement

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Ministerial Statement

Mr FRANK SARTOR (Rockdale—Minister for Planning, Minister for Redfern Waterloo, and Minister for the Arts) [3.16 p.m.]: I am pleased to inform the House of the latest coup for the New South Wales film and television industry. For the first time in seven years film and television producers from around Australia will descend on Sydney for a prestigious national conference. The 2007 Screen Producers Association of Australia Fringe event will be held this Friday and Saturday at the Chauvel Cinema in the Town Hall in Paddington. It rates as one of the industry's most important annual events and attracts the most inspiring new screenwriters, producers, directors, animators and special effects designers—the Baz Luhrmanns and George Millers of tomorrow. Approximately 400 people are expected to participate in sharing ideas, making contacts and inspiring each other to push the creative boundaries.

Australian film and television producers bring a unique flavour and flair to the arts. We want to ensure that distinctly Australian stories are told on screen. Conferences such as this week's event are a vital platform for the next generation of talent. Luring the conference back to Sydney after it was held for several years in Queensland was a good win for New South Wales. To help secure this conference the Iemma Government forged a new agreement with the Screen Producers Association of Australia through the New South Wales Film and Television Office. We invested $40,000 in direct support for the event. We recognise the importance of a thriving arts sector both to cultural diversity and to the economy.

For example, the film Clubland, which was shot in Western Sydney and produced entirely in New South Wales, generated an estimated $5 million for the State's economy and employed more than 250 local cast and crew. Similarly, the Bollywood smash-hit Heyy Babyy, the biggest Bollywood film ever produced in Australia, involved more than 450 Australian cast and crew. The member for Strathfield is fully aware of these productions. In July the Government announced that seven new film or television productions would come to New South Wales and inject $22 million directly into the economy. This will include the new feature film from Academy Award winning writer and director Jane Campion.

The recent State Budget allocated more than $9 million to the Film and Television Office to support the local industry with grants and other assistance. Just last month I announced a major funding boost of $1.8 million to the Sydney Film Festival to establish an international film prize. The Iemma Government will continue investing in the local film and television industry to generate local jobs and help support a strong economy. I thank them.

Mrs JILLIAN SKINNER (North Shore—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) [3.19 p.m.]: This is farcical given the number of letters I have had from filmmakers, whether it be directors, producers or people in ancillary industries, complaining about the lack of sponsorship and funding by the Government. They say they have better opportunities to produce films in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

The SPEAKER: Order! Members on the Government benches will remain silent.

Mrs JILLIAN SKINNER: It is a tragedy that even films that are set in New South Wales cannot be made in this State because the Minister does not give the State's film industry anywhere near the encouragement, support and breaks that other States give their film industries. It is difficult for the industry to get filming locations. The Minister overtaxes the industry and he provides no support for the industry: he has cut funding to every cultural institute in this State.

The SPEAKER: Order! I call the Minister for the Arts to order.

Mrs JILLIAN SKINNER: Australian Bureau of Statistics data show that. The Minister makes his ministerial statement expecting congratulations, but the film industry has nothing but disdain for him.