Thursday, 29 October 2020
Questions without Notice
[by video link] My question is to the Minister for the Arts. Why did the minister tell the ABC that money from the $250 million June arts package, announced with Guy Sebastian, was already flowing, when senior departmental officials have confirmed, 'No cash has flowed'? Has the government told Guy Sebastian why it has completely failed to deliver on its announcement?
I do thank the member for his question. The facts are that we've committed $250 million under our JobMaker program for the arts and entertainment sector. Of course, this builds on the over $300 million—$336 million, in fact—which has been provided to JobKeeper, to people who are working in what's called the creative and performing arts subsector of the cultural and creative sector. In fact, this year we've announced almost $800 million in additional arts and entertainment funding on top of $750 million in core funding.
Let me explain to the member exactly how the Temporary Interruption Fund, which is a $50 million component of the $250 million JobMaker Plan, works. What the Temporary Interruption Fund does is provide support for screen productions which, in the absence of that fund, were not able to proceed because insurers would not provide coverage against key person risk due to COVID. That meant no screen finance being released, and no TV and film productions able to proceed. That's why we committed $50 million under the Temporary Interruption Fund. That money has been deployed. It is now committed to over 20 productions, and eight of those productions are already underway—people employed, people at work in film and television production. That adds to our very substantial expenditure on the Location Incentive Program—$400 million. We are seizing the opportunity that our nation has because of our response to COVID. We are seen as a place that has good protocols in place. That's why we have had very extensive interest from international productions to come to Australia and commence filming in Australia.
Indeed, NBCUniversal has announced a commitment to programs like Young Rock and Irreverent. Young Rock features Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, an actor whose oeuvre I'm very familiar with as I have an 11-year-old son. He is a very popular actor and it is a very popular production. Most importantly, it's going to generate 1,000 jobs and 2,000 opportunities for extras in Queensland, and there will be more opportunities around Australia. So I completely reject the proposition that the funding we have committed has not already been put to work; it has, and Australians are in jobs as a result.