By Simon de Bruyn

The new super agency for the film industry, Screen Australia, will receive $103 million for its first year of operation – an amount which will be used to finance and develop projects as well as institute the new board and CEO.
In addition, the National Film and Sound Archive will receive $105.2m over four years (including $25.2m in 2008-09) in the final step towards its establishment as an independent statutory authority from 1 July 2008.
Both of these allocations were announced by the Minister for the Arts, Peter Garrett, as part of the Rudd Government’s first Federal Budget last night.
“Screen Australia will be a strong, centralised source of funding and this announcement is a critical step in ensuring a sustainable and successful local industry,” he said.
Screen Australia will also administer the Producer Offset and the research and statistic functions.
“Following discussion with the agencies and feedback from industry, the government decided that the Australian Film Commission’s research and statistics functions should be transferred to Screen Australia,” he said.
“This will enhance the new agency’s capacity to support the industry by providing high quality, well targeted research and statistical services to screen businesses, government and other stakeholders.”
Screen Australia, which is set to open its doors officially from July 1, is an amalgamation of existing federal agencies the Australian Film Commission, Film Australia and the Film Finance Corporation.
Two weeks ago, Garrett said the existing policies and programs of all three agencies will remain in place until January 1, 2009, to give the new board time to review their effectiveness.
Lyn Maddock is currently interim CEO of the super agency. She previously oversaw the creation of the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

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