27 May, 2016The Australian Writers’ Guild will continue to fight for its members’ rights, the Guild’s President Jan Sardi has pledged.In his annual report to the 2016 AWG Annual General Meeting in Sydney, Jan said that 2015 had been a good year for the Guild, though the challenges keep coming.“But as history will show, our determination to fight for what we believe in will never diminish,” he said.“Never forget: the strength of the Guild is you, the members, writers with a common cause and shared ideals. Be assured, the Australian Writers Guild will continue to fight for your rights, and to ensure you get the respect you deserve and with it, the rewards for the ongoing exploitation of your work.”Jan said that the past 12 months had been the busiest he could remember in his time as president, with several major developments, continued consolidation and some big battles being fought for its more than 2,200 members.He singled out major developments such as the creation of Scripted Inc, backed by Shane Brennan, which he described as “a game-changing initiative that will help shape, build and invest in the stage and screen industries in Australia”.He mentionedtwo major surveys by the Guild to focus attention on the challenges facing Australian theatre, while in the rapidly expanding field of writing for new media the AWG had led with the establishment of a special whole-of-industry Games & Interactive Advisory Committee to drive progress.He said the Pathways career development mentoring program continued to grow, now further enhanced by Scripted Inc. The 2016 AWGIEs once again celebrated excellence in Australian performance writing, attracting almost 500 entries across 26 categories across all sectors, while the National Screenwriters’ Conference demonstrated the vital role Australian writers play in the evolution of the industry, both locally and internationally.“With so many positives, there are always bound to be a few issues that challenge us and at the same time remind us of the very reason the guild exists, which is to fight the good fight, not only for our members but for the benefit of the wider community.”He said the Guild had three major issues in particular in its sights: the ongoing defunding of the arts by the current government, a Productivity Commission report recommending cuts to copyright protection, and the failure by Screenrights to protect and represent Australian and international scriptwriters’ rights.“Needless to say, we will continue to fight for your rights keep you advised of our progress,” Jan promised.He concluded by thanking all the board, staff and other supporters across Australia of both the AWG and the AWGACS collecting society whose chair, Time Pye had also been elected to the Executive Committee of Writers and Directors Worldwide.
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