Industry & Policy

As well as providing services to individual members, the AWG is also about enhancing Australian performance writing as a whole.

In this role, the AWG’s vision is to see performance writing and performance writers thrive as a dynamic and integral part of Australian storytelling; shaping, reflecting and enhancing Australia’s cultural voice in all its diversity.

We work closely with our experienced and highly-regarded members to undertake research, lobbying, advocacy and strategic initiatives on behalf of screen, stage, radio and interactive writers collectively.

The AWG is the voice of performance writers in federal and state governments, industry bodies, sector organisations and the wider community, promoting the role, recognition and reward for performance writing in Australian society and culture.

EMAIL TEMPLATE FOR YOUR MP


Collectively, we can make a difference and fight for a better future for Australian stories on screen. Please email your local MP – copy provided below.

More

Win! Producer offset for feature film is retained


The Australian Writers’ Guild celebrates Communications Minister Paul Fletcher’s announcement that the feature film producer offset will be retained at 40%. Last September, the Morrison Government indicated that it would be reduced to 30% and harmonised with the TV offset, which will increase from 20%. This is a win for the industry and for our writer-producer members.

More

AWG at Parliament House


Last week, Australian Writers’ Guild President Shane Brennan and former President Jan Sardi AO campaigned at Parliament House, Canberra, for the protection of Australian feature film production and the overdue regulation of streaming services. They lobbied alongside industry leaders and representatives from SPA, MEAA and ADG, under the banner of Make It Australian.

More

Screen creatives visit Canberra to call for action on local content


​Leading Australian actors, crew, writers and producers are in Canberra this week in a united push to convince Parliament to introduce local content requirements for booming digital viewing platforms and make other necessary reforms to ensure a bright future for Australian screen stories.

More

Calling on all Game Developers. Help us to raise your game.


The Australian Writers’ Guild is working in collaboration with the Games Committee to understand more about the issues that games writers and narrative designers face in the sector. We need your help!

More

Make It Australian campaign

Following calls from commercial broadcasters to abolish quotas for children’s content and drastically reduce quotas for scripted drama, the Australian Writers’ Guild are currently involved in the Make It Australian campaign, a joint effort by the AWG, SPA, ADG, MEAA and other industry guilds. The campaign is also pushing for:

  • reform of local content rules to include the burgeoning digital platforms, including streaming video on demand;
  • the restoration of funding to public broadcasters and Screen Australia, who commission a significant proportion of local comedy and drama; and
  • the modernisation of our production incentives to make them globally competitive at all levels.

The campaign was launched on 18 September 2017 through a National Day of Action with events being held in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Perth and Brisbane.

Find out more about the campaign and get involved here.

National Arts Debate 2016

Australian playwrights and screenwriters will put some of the country’s political leaders under the spotlight at a special national debate on arts funding on 8 June 2016 in the run-up to the Federal Election.  Members of the Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG) will join professionals from across the nation’s arts, screen and culture sectors at a National Arts Debate at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne organised by ArtsPeak, a federation of national peak arts organisations.

Pollies under the spotlight in National Arts Debate

Productivity Commission Public Inquiry into  Australia’s Intellectual Property Arrangements

Recommendations by the Federal Government’s Productivity Commission to cut copyright protection in Australia would have a devastating impact on the nation’s screenwriters and other authors. The draft recommendations – that include slashing the length of time copyright protects an author’s work from 70 years to as little as 15, together with the introduction of US-style ‘fair use for copyright works – showed the Productivity Commission has a profound lack of understanding of the writing process. The AWG has made submissions to this Inquiry and has urged its members to do the same.

Productivity Commission recommendations could cripple Australia’s creative industries

2015 Federal Budget cuts to the Arts

2015 was a turbulent year for the Arts and artists in Australia. First, the federal government slashed Australia Council’s grants funding and announced the National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA). The industry responded with a wave of national protests. The arts community was united and outraged. Senator Ludlum successfully called for a Senate Inquiry into the impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget Decisions on the Arts, which took submissions and held public hearings around the country. In the meantime, the new Minister scrapped the NPEA, partially reinstated funding to the Australia Council and unveiled his own Australian Arts and Culture Fund renamed Catalyst.

NPEA – MIA, Catalyst in Question; Arts funding back to the future_

The Audio Visual Campaign

theaudiovisualcampaign

Writers and Directors Worldwide (WDW) have launched a worldwide campaign under the hashtag #TheAudiovisualCampaign that aims to create awareness and encourage changes in law that will result in a fairer share of income for content creators from films and TV programs. They are inviting Australian writers and directors to look at what is being done internationally to protect creators’ interests.

Campaign spreads for fairer pay for screenwriters and directors

Australian Content

Cartoon

In 2013 the AWG along with the ADG, MEAA and SPAA launched the ‘Australian Screens. Australian Stories.’ campaign to hold the government to account on the findings of its own Convergence Review. We are still fighting the battle for Australian content on Australian screens. Click on the links below to see how the story continues to unfold.

Australian Screens, Australian Stories!

“Keeping Australian Stories On TV Is Vital”, Keeping Conroy To His Word Is The Battle

AWG Calls For Respect For Writers and New Australian Work

New Newspoll Research Shows Six in Ten Australians Want New Australian Content Requirements

First Dog On The Moon on Australian Content

AWG – IF Magazine ­ December 2012

Collecting your royalties

AWG calls for help in collecting residual payments for members

Past Campaigns

Open letter to the Radio National:ABC Radio Management Team

AWG Theatre Petition 2010

AWG Petition to the Australia Council

Submissions & Advocacy

AWG Submission to ‘Modernising television regulation in Australia’ Media Reform Green Paper 

On 23 May 2021, the AWG made a submission to the ‘Modernising television regulation in Australia’ Media Reform Green Paper.

The AWG recommended the following: 

  1. Government should introduce regulation that requires eligible streaming-video-on-demand (SVOD) and advertising-video-on-demand (AVOD) services to invest 20% of their Australian-sourced revenue into commissioning new Australian scripted content (including drama, children’s television, documentary).
  2. Eligibility requirements should be set at 500,000 subscribers or registered users and AU$50 million per annum in Australian revenue.
  3. In addition to the above, eligible service providers should be subject to genre sub-quotas for drama, children’s television and documentary.
  4. These sub-quotas must be accompanied by transmission and promotion obligations.
  5. The public broadcasters should receive an increase in direct funding. The public broadcasters have been left with the sole responsibility of programming vulnerable genres such as children’s television for local audiences and they require further support.
  6. Regulation of the streaming platforms should be implemented by 1 January 2022 to reignite a contracted sector and cushion the blow from the loss of $100 million of Australian content annually, following the relaxation of quota obligations on the free-to-air broadcasters.
  7. In relation to the proposed CAST fund, government should ensure that key creatives – such as writers and directors – have a say in the distribution of the fund and implement measures to protect against bureaucratic mismanagement of the fund.
  8. The government must encourage investment in script development and commit to supporting and retaining local creative talent, including emerging talent.

To read our full submission, see here

AWG Submission to the Changes to Australian Content and Children's Television Consultation 

On 7 December 2020, the AWG made a submission to the ACMA's consultation into changes to Australian Content and Children's Television

The AWG recommended that: 

  • The term “commissioned” must be defined in a clear and measurable way which is fit for purpose and we support a threshold contribution of at least 30%of the production budget;
  • The “financial contribution” made by licensees towards the production of a “commissioned” program must include a meaningful financial contribution towards the script development of that program, including where the ‘commission’ comes after significant development has already been done. In the absence of investment in development, the draft regulation risks incentivising late commissions, where development had been done, at best, on a shoestring budget and, at worst, ‘on-spec’.  By investing in development, licensees can produce high-quality series, which attract the highest level of talent and investment, and allow Australian creators to sell their best work to the world. Financial investment in script development can take the form of reimbursement of writer’s fees for work already undertaken to develop a project of sufficient quality and evolution to take to the marketplace.
  • The definition of “Australian program” must include reference to script development and writing by Australian writers. It is locally scripted programs that need market support.  Failure to carefully and purposefully address this in the definitions will see public funds increasing profits of foreign owned companies with no meaningful gain for the Australian industry and Australian audiences. 
  • The requirement that a children’s program is “fully scripted” is retained; and
  • The genre allocation of points should incentivise long-running drama series, those being the ones which can see significant return on investment internationally, reach the greatest audiences internationally and sustain an industry with sufficient experience to compete internationally.

To read our full submission, please see AWG submission to Australian Content and Children's Television Consultation.


AWG Submission to Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions Inquiry 

On 22 October 2020, the AWG made a submission to the 'Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions' Inquiry, undertaken by the House Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts. 

The submission covered the following: 

  • The severe negative impact that COVID-19 has had on the screen and theatre sectors, which has been aggravated by recent government policy and funding decisions.
  • The significant and well-established economic and non-economic benefits of a strong screen and theatre sector and the critical need for government to address the market failure in the Australian screen industry.
  • Appropriate and targeted government intervention that will ensure that the screen and theatre sectors recover from the pandemic and grow, including through:
    • Regulation of the streaming-video-on-demand (SVOD) platforms; and
    • An increase in direct funding to the public broadcasters tied to commercial and cultural obligations; and
    • Transparency and accountability around the recently announced direct funding to Screen Australia and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF); and
    • Maintaining the producer offset for feature film at 40% and preserving the Gallipoli clause; and
    • An increase in direct funding to the Australia Council tied to playwright and play development and to support independent small and mid-sized theatre companies.

To read our full submission, please see AWG submission to Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions inquiry.


AWG submission to the 'Supporting Australian Stories on our Screens Options' Paper

On 2 July 2020, the AWG made a submission to the ‘Supporting Australian stories on our screens’ Options Paper, which proposes a new support framework for Australian stories in a multi-platform environment.

The Options Paper was co-authored by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and Screen Australia, in response to the Government’s request following the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry.

To achieve a robust Australian screen industry, with adequate development, funding and promotion of local content across platforms, the Australian Writers’ Guild recommends the following:

  1. Introduce clear and accurate legislative definitions of the terms ‘new’, ‘first-release’, ‘commissioned’, ‘scripted’, and ‘Australian content’. In particular, the term ‘scripted’ must be carefully defined to avoid a domination of reality television and light entertainment. Existing definitions for ‘drama’, ‘documentary’ and ‘children’s content’ are fit for purpose and should be preserved.
  2. Regulate all service providers by requiring them to negotiate tailored content investment plans with ACMA. These investment plans must include a local quota requirement measured in expenditure and hours. 
  3. Preserve local content quotas on free-to-air broadcasters and extend the application of those quotas to all qualifying service providers, including SVOD platforms and the national broadcasters.
  4. Require qualifying SVOD platforms who fail to meet their local content obligations to reinvest their revenue into a local content development fund. 
  5. Protect children’s content by requiring SVOD platforms to screen first release Australian children’s content if they screen international children’s content.
  6. Introduce a 10% cultural uplift on the Producer Offset for any production whose creator(s), showrunner, writers and directors are Australian citizens or permanent residents.

To read our full submission, please see the AWG submission to the Supporting Australian Stories on our Screens Option Paper.


Inquiry on Australian Content on Broadcast, Radio and Streaming Services

On 8 February 2018, the AWG made a submission to the Inquiry on Australian Content on Broadcast, Radio and Streaming Services.

The AWG submission argued that the government should, through policy intervention, promote and defend Australian culture by supporting Australian screen content. It submitted that the current regulatory framework is fit for purpose, but that it must be updated to be platform-neutral and to create parity between the commercial broadcasters and online content providers, both foreign and domestic, and these claims were supported through two key arguments.

  • First, that there is a cultural imperative to tell Australian stories, and
  • Second, that broadcasters economically benefit from the current regulatory framework and that they, in return for the commercial benefits they enjoy, should commit to producing local scripted drama and children’s content, thereby giving back to Australian audiences

To read our full submission, please see AWG submission to the Inquiry on Australian Content on Broadcast, Radio and Streaming Services.


Australian and Children’s Screen Content Review

On 28 September 2017, the AWG made a preliminary submission to the Australian and Children’s Screen Content Review requesting that they consider the following:

  • Preserving existing sub-quotas on commercial broadcasters for new Australian scripted drama, children’s content and documentaries;
  • Introduce regulation on subscription video on demand (SVOD), online and telecommunication companies which imposes obligations on them to invest in production and showcase new Australian scripted drama and children’s content;
  • Increase the Producer Offset for television from 20% to 40% and ensure it is clearly and transparently directed toward its proper purpose of supporting Australian originated screen stories;
  • Ensure funding of the ABC and SBS is at a level that enables them to properly support and promote the creation of new Australian scripted drama, children’s content and documentary programming in accordance with their respective charters, and incorporate quotas to ensure clarity and transparency in expenditure or scripted content.

To read our full submission, please see AWG Submission – Australian and Children’s Screen Content Review


Parliamentary Inquiry into the growth and sustainability of the film and television industry

On 9 February 2017, the House Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts announced an inquiry into Factors Contributing to the growth and sustainability of the Australian film and television industry.

On 31 March 2017, the AWG made a preliminary submission to the Committee requesting that the Standing Committee consider the following:

  • protecting existing local content quotas for scripted television and making quotas platform neutral; and
  • ensuring any future refund of licensing fees to the commercial networks comes with an obligation to spend that money on local scripted content; and
  • introducing a tax on new streaming services tied to local content quotas and investment in local scripted television production; and
  • increasing the producer’s offset for television from 20% to 40%; and
  • rejecting the proposed amendments to the copyright law which threaten the livelihoods of Australian writers and dis-incetivise creation and innovation.

Through consultation and collaboration with the Committee and the current government, the AWG will continue to fight for a stronger and more sustainable film and television industry which enables writers and all those engaged within it (not just the producers who are already supported by Screen Australia and the state funding bodies) to better compete for investment and success on the global stage.

To read our full submission, please see  AWG submission – Growth & Sustainability Inquiry 20170331.

Other publicly available submissions can be found at: www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_B...

The Productivity Commission’s public inquiry into Australia’s intellectual property system

In its submission to the Productivity Commission’s public inquiry, the Australian Writers’ Guild said the industry has outgrown the current copyright system, which provides insufficient protection to performance writers. The AWG is calling for copyright reform to enshrine a right to fair remuneration for authors through an inalienable and unwaivable remuneration right to fair remuneration for the success of their work.

Read our submission and follow up to the Commission’s Draft Report below:

AWG-AWGACS submission to Productivity Commission – 30 November 2015

FURTHER SUBMISSION AWG AWGACS – PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION

More information about the Productivity Commission’s Public Inquiry:

Writers urged to defend copyright

Productivity Commission recommendations could cripple Australia’s creative industries

To read our full submission, please see Australia Council budget cuts 2014-2015

NPEA – MIA, Catalyst in Question; Arts funding back to the future?

AWG response to NPEA Guidelines 2015

Australian Writers’ Guild Submission to Senate Inquiry 2015

Convergence Review

AWG Convergence Review Framing Paper 2011

THE NATIONAL VOICE 2018

AWG report: More Australian works in 2018, but original voices at a standstill

The National Voice, the Australian Writers’ Guild’s annual survey of Australia’s 10 largest theatre companies, has concluded that while the overall number of Australian plays in 2018 has increased, original Australian voices on stage have hit a standstill, making up less than 50% of mainstage theatre seasons over four years.

Download the full report HERE.

THE NATIONAL VOICE 2017

AWG Report: More Australian plays being staged, but female writers continue to miss out

The National Voice, a major survey of Australia’s 10 largest theatre companies, has concluded that while more original Australian plays are being produced than three years ago, there is still a shortfall when it comes to balance between male and female Australian playwrights.

Download the full report HERE.

THE NATIONAL VOICE 2016

THE NATIONAL VOICE 2016 marks a drop in local works and plays by women

Efforts to get more Australian works and plays by women in the nation’s major theatres took a step backwards in 2016, according to new figures just out.

The National Voice 2016, a survey of trends in Australian theatre programming, reveals a decline in both areas compared with 2015, the first year the survey was conducted by the Australian Writers’ Guild.

Download the full report HERE.

THE NATIONAL VOICE 2015

Playwrights have called for better monitoring of new works that are commissioned, developed and produced by the Australian Theatre sector.

To this end, the Australian Writers’ Guild is pleased to present its first quantitative analysis of our national main-stage ecology, revealing who did what in the 2015 season.

Click here for your copy, and we’ll let the statistics speak for themselves.

The National Voice and Australian Writers’ Guild Ltd is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

© Australian Writers' Guild 2021. All Rights Reserved.
ACN: 002 563 500

Privacy Policy

Level 4, 70 Pitt St, Sydney, NSW 2000
t: 02 9319 0339
f: 02 9223 8933
e: admin@awg.com.au

Red Tally Studios
CLOSE ✕

Notice

The Australian Writers’ Guild acknowledges and pays respect to the past, present and future traditional custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.