Gorman v Netflix

STREAMING companies like Netflix and Disney+ should have to pay 20 per cent of their local revenue into making new Australian content, federal Perth Labor MP Patrick Gorman says. 

Mr Gorman is on the parliamentary arts committee which has just released 22 recommendations for digging the arts economy out of the Covid doldrums, including fairer pay for authors whose books are in libraries, art to get more of the spotlight in the school curriculum, and the local content funding rule for streamers.

Mr Gorman says if adopted “that’s going to be amazing for the film and TV industry that’s really firing here in WA,” building on recent state government funding announcements like a proposed international film studio in Fremantle. 

“The European Union has done similar initiatives in terms of streaming companies, so it has been done, and indeed in Australia we’ve had local content obligations obligations on radio and television stations for decades,” Mr Gorman said. 

“So actually we just need to drag these international streaming services who think they’re above the law and say: ‘If you want to pump your stuff out over the internet here, then you have to also invest in the artists, actors and production teams that work here in Australia’.” 

Netflix opposes quotas but Mr Gorman told the Voice: “If they want to pick that fight, I’m very happy to have it.”

With the arts industry particularly wrecked by Covid and a significant slice of artists ineligible for JobKeeper, the report also recommends a national cultural plan to get a better picture of what the sector will need in the medium and long term. 

The committee’s report has been tabled in parliament and the 22 recommendations which had bipartisan support get sent to the relevant ministers to decide what to adopt.  

by DAVID BELL

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