On 12 January the Morrison Government extended the $50 million Temporary Interruption Fund (TIF) for six months, to assist rehabilitation in the screen sector and acknowledge the ongoing effects of COVID-19. TIF coverage is now available for productions commencing principle photograph on or prior to 30 June 2022.
The fund established in mid-2020 created a safety net for local productions, allowing them to secure funding in the face of COVID-19 roadblocks and allow cast, crew and associated businesses to continue to work.
Screen Producers Australia (SPA) welcomed the initiative, releasing a statement shortly after the announcement and calling it ‘lifeline for Australian producers’.
SPA have been lobbying hard for this, and urged the Government to further extend TIF in December 2021, after following through a six month extension in April.
Back then it was reported by IF that ‘the government is remaining firm on its position to roll back the fund, despite no alternative insurance mechanism in place.’
Recognising the difficulties of accessing screen production insurance due to the pandemic, SPA CEO Matthew Deaner said: ‘The TIF has been of substantial benefit to investment, employment and sustainability in the sector, and we are grateful for the strong support the Government has shown the sector through the creation and extension of the fund.’
Deaner said SPA advised the Government that COVID-19 related challenges – alongside confidence in the market and financing of Australian content – are persistent and will continue.
‘This means that the underlying market gaps which justified the creation of the TIF are still in place and are likely to be for some time,’ said Deaner.
According to Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, ‘seventy-seven applications for coverage have been approved under the TIF to date, with an average of 346 people employed and 162 businesses supported on each production.’
Under TIF, up to 60% of the total budget of a project, or $4 million (whichever is less), will be available should a COVID-19 event occur in either the last two weeks of pre-production or during principal photography.
Fletcher added: ‘Thankfully, because none of the projects covered were delayed by key personnel contracting COVID, the quantum in the fund remains at $50 million.’
Funds are administered by Screen Australia and production companies will need to pay a fee for TIF coverage at 2% of what TIF provides.
Applications close 3 June, for more information visit Screen Australia.