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Arts - Screen Productions

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Tags: Arts, State Budget

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, the screen productions that come out of Tasmania are truly world renowned. They are incredibly stellar, amazing on every level and every different type of screen and documentary and so on.

Last year, Labor's Dr Shane Broad made a flagrant attack on the integrity and independence of the decisions made by Screen Tasmania about what ought to be funded and that came on the basis of a wonderful little film that was made by Wild Things. You said in parliament that you gave total support to the expert advisory group's assessment and independent expert process, that it should be at arm's length from government and political decision-making and that the current process is fair and impartial. You then turned around and said you were going to have a review of Screen Tasmania and the arts assessment review process.

Ms ARCHER - The review had occurred before Estimates.

Dr WOODRUFF - Before Estimates last year, that is right. We talked about it. I want to bring it back on behalf of Wide Angle and all the artists who have signed that who are very concerned, given where we are in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms ARCHER - No changes. I thought I said that at last year's Estimates, but it is very difficult to remember what happened when because of COVID-19.

Dr WOODRUFF - You did, and another year has gone by.

Ms ARCHER - Absolutely no changes. The process is as all parties embrace the Cultural and Creative Industries Act, we have an expert panel called Screen Tasmania Expert Advisory Group (STEAG) with respect to screen matters. We have an expert peer panel that is drawn from a whole list of people with respect to all the Arts Tasmania grants. We deal with Arts and Screen quite separately.

With STEAG, they are a particularly prestigious group of people who give up their time to do this. They get reimbursed for costs but it is not a lot and there are some incredible people who make those decisions. It is at arm's length from government so that the pure nature of the application is, that it is largely economically based as well as it being a great screen production, ticking a lot of boxes. Because we are spending taxpayer's money, we like to have a good return on investment.

When a screen production reaches in the realm of 3 or 4 to 1 ratio, it varies depending on what it is but generally in that range of the return on investment so we know the money is being well spent. That is why it is important to take the politics out of these things.

Dr WOODRUFF - Totally, I agree 100 per cent.

Ms ARCHER - So that the end result is something that is worthy of taxpayer's spending.

The other thing is, if it is a matter for classification or people disagree with it that way, then that is dealt with under a different Commonwealth act. It is difficult because art is art. It is subjective and people have different tastes, different likes and dislikes and again, that is the reason for that act and for that independent peer assessment process and why it was put in there in the first place.

Dr WOODRUFF - MONA is proof that making people uncomfortable actually brings people together.