Aussie stars from the big and small screen have joined forces to push streaming giants like Netflix to invest in the future of Australia’s screen industry.
Fronting the press at Parliament House on Tuesday morning, actors including Simon Baker called for the Morrison government to apply a 20% local content quota on streaming giants like Netflix and Disney+, saying it could create up to 10,000 sustainable local jobs and “unleash the potential of the local industry.”
Under this proposal, major streaming platforms that have at least 500,000 subscribers would be required to invest 20% of their local revenue into new Aussie content.
Throughout the pandemic, major film studios and actors have chosen Australia as the location of their projects, including George Clooney and Julia Roberts, who will film their upcoming rom-com in the Whitsundays, instead of Bali.
“It’s very good that foreign companies are coming in [and] studios are spending a lot of money here,” Baker said, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald.
“It’s great for our crews, it’s great for our economy. But it’s a sugar hit.
“What we need to do is help develop a richer, stronger, more potent Australian voice.”
Baker was joined by other Aussie stars, including Marta Dusseldorp (BlackJack), Bryan Brown (take your pick), and Justine Clarke (Play School).
While Brown applauded the jobs that Hollywood films created here, he said they would probably dry up once the pandemic passed and the major studios could film safely in other countries again.
I mean, good point.
“We do know that probably once COVID’s gone, they’re going. So we do need to make sure once again that we look after our own stories and our own film industry,” Brown said.
Sizeable crowd of high profile actors, including Simon Baker and Justine Clark, and plenty of press gallery interest in the @withMEAA press conference calling for a 20% Australian content quota on streaming services to preserve the industry #auspol @SBSNews pic.twitter.com/IotPP4clWz
— Naveen Razik (@naveenjrazik) March 15, 2021
Baker added that the 20% quota is “considerably conservative” compared to other proposed quotas overseas.
“If you look at the French they are going for 25.5%, the Canadians are looking for 30%,” he said.
Screen Producers Australia chief executive Matthew Deaner said it is absolutely critical that the government acted quickly, while the iron is hot.
“If Australia doesn’t do this, we are going to fall immediately behind everyone else.”
Just imagine if Netflix commissioned a brand new series a la Offspring, starring Asher Keddie. Those were the bloody days, tell ya what.