Producers could claim $160m via rebate
By Brendan Swift
This year’s batch of TV and drama productions are expected to claim up to $160 million in tax rebates over the next several years, according to the national screen agency.
The data, released yesterday in Screen Australia’s annual drama production survey, showed production activity remained solid in fiscal 2009, although big budget features Happy Feet 2 and Guardians of Ga’Hoole bolstered the results.
The survey is the first measure of the new Producer Offset scheme, which allows TV and film productions to claim back between 20 and 40 per cent of their qualifying expenditure.
“What we see from the drama survey is the Offset is working as intended,” Screen Australia chief executive Ruth Harley told INSIDEFILM.
About $54 million was actually claimed via the Producer Offset in fiscal 2009, boosting the funding of 17 feature films and 26 TV dramas.
Nonetheless, several producers – including Mao’s Last Dancer’s Jane Scott – remain sceptical about the scheme, which was designed to boost private investment levels.
Private investors have remained scarce, partly due to the global financial crisis, while interest rates charged to cashflow the Offset have been relatively high.
“My other production I have on the backburner, I’m aiming to finance it overseas because I don’t really hold out very much confidence in the Offset and I haven’t tested it yet,” Scott told INSIDEFILM earlier this year.
“I had hoped it would be working really well by now but I’m not sure it is.”
The $25.8 million budget of Mao’s Last Dancer was financed via the now defunct 10BA scheme, which provided private investors with a 100 per cent tax deduction.
Mao’s Last Dancer is now the twelfth biggest Australian film of all time at the local box office – passing Lantana this week – with $12,586,534 in total takings.
Meanwhile, the Screen Australia survey showed the number of feature films in production fell to 38 from 45 in the previous year, although its economic value increased slightly over the period to $668 million.
The number of TV drama programs remained steady at 44, however the hours of TV produced fell to 653 from 701 previously. Nonetheless, Screen Australia said the value of TV production expenditure reached its highest point since 2001 at $308 million.
The full survey can be found here: