After protracted negotiations a collective agreement for performers working in Australian TV productions is being finalised.

The new deal will give artists a 6% increase in minimum rates in the first year and a 2.5% rise in each of the two following years.

It will also strengthen producers’ undertaking to try to ensure that casting better reflects the diversity of Australian society.

Two issues are still being negotiated between the Screen Producers Association of Australia and the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

One relates to SPAA’s efforts to slash the 100% loading to artists who do voice-overs in animation co-productions, which MEAA is resisting. Any such reduction would be mitigated partly by producers agreeing to pay the loading on a per-episode basis rather than the current daily rate.

The other potential sticking point is determining which TV productions will benefit from the new agreement. It’s unlikely to apply to shows that are currently in production.

Equity hopes to conclude the agreement within a month after it’s approved by the National Performers Committee.

The pay raises are broadly in line with a new, separate Actors Television Programs Agreement for performers employed in the Seven Network in-house productions Home and Away and Winners & Losers.

That gives artists an annual increase of 2.7% in minimum rates for three years, backdated to last January. That’s comparable to the broader industry agreement which is effectively for four years as the previous deal expired at the end of last year.

Home and Away and Winners & Losers performers unanimously voted for the deal in an online ballot and the agreement was registered with Fair Work Australia.

The network agreed to include casting diversity provisions. Equity told its members, “While it will be hard to enforce this in practice the… wording does improve our rights as industry professionals to argue for a more balanced and realistic reflection of contemporary Australian society in Seven productions.”

Equity has formed a diversity-in-casting committee whose members will seek to have this provision adopted across the industry, including feature films.

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