Australian stars have traded the bright lights of Hollywood for Canberra’s corridors of power in a bid to get more local shows on Netflix.
Actors Simon Baker, Bryan Brown, Marta Dusseldorp and Justine Clarke joined producers and senior screen industry representatives at Parliament House on Tuesday.
The group wants the government to stamp a 20 per cent local content guarantee into law for streaming sites like Netflix and Stan.
It would mean 20 per cent of a streaming service’s Australian revenue would go towards local content.
US film productions have descended on Australia during the coronavirus pandemic due to the nation’s success with the health crisis.
While it has created local jobs, Baker warned it was a “sugar hit”.
“What we need to do is protect for the future and help develop a richer, stronger more potent Australian voice,” The Mentalist star said.
Baker said the screen industry was a primary source for Australian voices to be heard.
“We can understand more clearly who we are as a nation, we can celebrate the diverse aspects of our culture through what’s on screen,” he said.
Brown warned against the government reducing the producer offset – a refundable tax offset – to 30 per cent from 40 per cent.
“It seems like one of the reasons they’re doing this is because they’re chucking a lot of money at overseas films that are coming here,” he said.
“We’ve been here before. We do know that probably once COVID is gone, they’re gone. So we’ve got to make sure once again that we look after our own stories, our own film industry.”
Dusseldorp said France and Canada were making moves on local content guarantees.
“We’re not setting the standard, we’re meeting it,” she said.
The group, also including media union boss Paul Murphy and Screen Producers Australia chief Matthew Deaner, are encouraged by the federal government’s work getting digital giants to pay for local news content.
They say it shows the government has an appetite to tackle big problems and challenge big businesses.
The group met with Communications Minister Paul Fletcher on the local content issue and are urging him to act quickly.