SPAA releases position on ABC commissioning of independent programs
Press release from SPAA
Over the years the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) has been a strong advocate for a properly funded and resourced independent ABC.
In the lead up to the most recent ABC triennial funding submission, SPAA was extremely active in Canberra in proposing the ABC receive additional funding to support increased levels of independently produced Australian programs. The Government pledged an extra $70 million to the ABC over three years for this purpose in the 2009 Federal Budget.
Central to SPAA submissions was the premise that the majority of this additional funding would be applied to the commissioning of external programs.
SPAA is concerned that Quentin Dempster’s comments in the press this week are over-simplistic, and further, undermine and misrepresent the role of the independent production sector and its value to the Australian television industry. This would be a much better debate if commentators were better informed about the core issues relating to ABC commissioning, ABC in-house programming and how independent producers work.
SPAA believes that a commissioning model is the most efficient approach for the future with the digital revolution escalating costs, as it best leverages the taxpayer’s dollar to attract funding from other sources, thereby maximising the amount of independent Australian programming that can be made and shown on the public broadcaster.
Overall employment levels are unlikely to be affected as independent programs engage hundreds of freelance technicians and artists. SPAA also believes that commissioning programming from the independent sector does not threaten the ABC’s independence as the ABC maintains editorial control over those commissions.
SPAA supports the ABC maintaining in-house production facilities where appropriate to its core function.