Ensuring access to diverse Australian content

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Body text for: Analysis of performance against purpose - Strategic priority 03 - Ensuring access to diverse Australian content

Australian content plays an important role in fostering a diverse and vibrant Australian culture. Content produced in Australia, or under Australian creative control, reflects and shapes our national identity, character and cultural diversity. Australian content also contributes to the economy through international exports.

Table 2.3 Performance criteria outcomes





Implement the Government’s objective to create a more competitive broadcasting industry. We will progress reforms in conjunction with broader spectrum reforms.

Implement the Government’s media reforms and contribute to the broad objective that all Australians have access to a range of free-to-air and subscription television and radio services

Corporate Plan 2016–17, p. 11

PBSDefinition:Portfolio Budget Statements 2017–18, p. 25

In progress

We ensure that the Australian television content and classification regulatory and policy frameworks remain fit-for-purpose and support the creation and distribution of Australian content.

Television and content classification frameworks are effective

Corporate Plan 2016–17, p. 11

PBS 2017–18, p. 25

In progress

See analysis in this section and also at Strategic Priority 2—Harnessing Digital Disruption

We administer policies and program to develop creative industries. We encourage the cultural sector’s contribution to diverse Australian content.

Australia’s creative industries produce original, compelling and accessible Australian content

Corporate Plan 2016–17, p. 11

PBS 2017–18, p. 30

In progress

We ensure that training institutions support the development of vibrant creative industries.

Australia’s elite training institutions support the development of vibrant creative industries

Corporate Plan 2016–17, p. 11

PBS 2017–18, p. 30


In progressing our work over the year, we focused on sectoral trends affecting the creation of Australian content, including in the free-to-air broadcast sector.

Australian and Children’s Screen Content Review

On 6 May 2017, the Government announced a comprehensive review of Australian and children’s screen content, as part of broader media reforms, to be conducted jointly by the Department, the ACMADefinition:Australian Communications and Media Authority and Screen Australia. Terms of reference for the review were released on 23 May 2017. The objective of the review is to provide policy options to the Government on the most effective support mechanisms for the Australian and children’s content and Australian screen production sectors. Specifically, mechanisms to support Australian drama, documentary and children’s content and the Australian Screen Production Incentive will be reviewed.

Given the small size of the Australian market for screen content, and the sheer quantities of screen content production in larger English-language markets such as the United States and the United Kingdon, it is unlikely that Australia would produce the quantity, quality and variety of Australian content required to achieve cultural benefits without Government support. The review will examine the Government’s policy settings and industry incentives to ensure they remain fit-for-purpose.

Over the course of 2016–17, we established a taskforce and started preparatory work and information-gathering to inform and guide the review. We commenced a program of stakeholder engagement and consultation. We anticipate providing a final report to the Government in 2017–18.

Media reforms

The Department is helping to promote a viable Australian media sector by removing outdated broadcast licence fees and regulations that only apply to, or restrict, traditional media platforms.

Following the implementation of a 25 per cent reduction in broadcasting licence fees, reducing the fees payable by broadcasters in December 2016, in 2016–17 we focused on implementing the Government’s objective to create a more competitive broadcast industry, with a particular focus on reforming media control and ownership rules.

The underlying objective of this integrated package is ensuring ongoing investment in, and access to,
high-quality Australian content. Overall, the package will strengthen free-to-air Australian broadcasters, enabling them to invest in Australian content and their businesses and to better compete with online content providers.

Over the year, we assisted with the Government’s introduction of the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Media Reform) Bill 2016 on 30 November 2016, and subsequent passage through the lower house and introduction into the Senate on 1 December 2016. The Bill sought to repeal the media control rules known as the ‘75 per cent reach rule’ and the ‘2 out of 3 rule’, and included new local programming obligations for regional commercial television licensees in certain circumstances.

Following announcement of the broadcasting and content reform package in the 2017–18 Budget, the changes to the control rules and local content measures have been included in this broader package of reforms. We provided policy advice to the Minister for Communications that led to announcements regarding the abolition of licence fees and the establishment of the Australian and Children’s Screen Content Review.

Creative industries

Contemporary Australia is home to a wide range of creative arts and industries, from world-class films, to visual and performing arts, to publishing and the games industry. Australia has a vibrant arts, culture and entertainment community which is known internationally for its unique style and rich Indigenous history. Australia also plays a key role in the education, training and development of future leaders across all arts and creative industries.

A creative economy contributes to cultural diversity, social inclusion, environmental sustainability and technological advancement. Creativity is key to innovation, driving sustainability and prosperity.

We collaboratively administer programs to support Australia’s creative industries in producing original, compelling and accessible content. In 2016–17, we administered several initiatives, including the:

  • Foreign Actor Certification Scheme—This scheme for screen performers entering Australia to work on film and television productions is intended to achieve Government cultural objectives by ensuring that Australian industry personnel are given the opportunity to secure employment in film and television productions shot in Australia, and that Australian voices are heard in Australian productions. In 2016–17, 188 foreign actors were certified under the scheme.
  • Location Offset, and Post, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) Offset—The Location Offset provides a 16.5 per cent rebate on productions that spend at least $15 million on qualifying Australian production expenditure. The PDV Offset provides a 30 per cent rebate on the qualifying post, digital and visual effects expenditure of productions that spend at least $500,000 on qualifying Australian expenditure, including productions not necessarily shot in Australia. In 2016–17, 84 applicants for the Location Offset and PDV Offset were issued final certificates by the Minister for the Arts. The Film Certification Advisory Board issued a further 35 provisional certificates for these offsets. The qualifying Australian production expenditure of these productions totalled $530 million, with an estimated rebate payable to these productions of $113.8 million.
  • Resale Royalty Scheme—Under the Resale Royalty Scheme, visual artists are entitled to a royalty payment of 5 per cent of the resale price for eligible works of art resold commercially for $1,000 or more. As at 30 June 2017, the scheme had generated over $5.27 million in royalties for 1,440 artists from 14,897 resales.

Successive Australian governments have provided operational funding to seven national elite performing arts training organisations to operate as national centres of excellence in the performing arts. Australia’s elite training organisations comprise:

  • Australian Ballet School
  • Australian National Academy of Music
  • Australian Youth Orchestra
  • Flying Fruit Fly Circus
  • National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA) Dance College
  • National Institute of Circus Arts (NICADefinition:National Institute of Circus Arts)
  • National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDADefinition:National Institute of Dramatic Art).

Together with the Australian Film, Television and Radio School which is a separate statutory authority, these organisations form the ARTS8.

The ARTS8 organisations provide Australia’s creative industries with a reliable stream of elite-level graduates who are immediately employable in a multitude of roles. Graduates are instrumental in sustaining the financial and cultural success of the national and international entertainment industries. Growth in nominal gross industry value added in performing arts rose by 35 per cent between 2008–09 and 2012–13.21

Over the year, we provided $23 million to the arts training organisations to operate as centres of excellence in elite training for the performing arts. In 2016, 838 students graduated and 1,100 places had been offered for the 2017 intake.


17 ACMA, 2015, Broadcasting financial results report. As acknowledged by the ACMA, these data are unaudited and may contain inaccuracies.

18 PwCDefinition:PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2016, Global entertainment and media outlook 2016–2020.

19 Nielsen, March 2016, Australian connected consumers report 2016.

20 ACMA, 2014, The cost of code interventions on commercial broadcasters: commissioned research undertaken by PwC for the contemporary community safeguards inquiry, p.45.

21 Bureau of Communications and Arts Research analysis.