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UK and Australia renegotiate coproduction terms to modernise agreement

David Attenborough in Life in Colour

The UK and Australia have renegotiated their coproduction agreement, with both countries welcoming the new terms.

The UK said it will result in more support for UK independent producers to build international networks and reach wider audiences, while Australia said it will increase opportunities for Australia to participate in multilateral coproductions.

It comes amid the UK/Australia Season 2021-22, a joint initiative by the British Council and the Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which looks to strengthen and build cultural connections between the two countries.

The amendments are said to modernise the 30-year-old copro agreement, making it easier for UK and Australian filmmakers to coproduce film and TV content together.

It will allow UK-Australia coproductions to hire staff from third-party countries more easily and now reflects the UK’s status as a sovereign trading nation after its exit from the European Union.

Coproducers will now also be able to make a smaller minimum financial contribution towards their project in order to benefit from the updated agreement.

Coproductions made under the UK-Australia agreement include David Attenborough’s Life in Colour and Shane, an upcoming documentary looking at the life and career of cricketer Shane Warne.

Both Australia and the UK will now progress their respective domestic processes to seek formal agreement to the amendments which would bring them into force.

Julia Lopez, the UK’s creative industries minister, said: “Today’s milestone will unlock fantastic opportunities in the creative industry and support this government’s commitment to help more people into skilled jobs. The UK and Australia share a long and rich history of strong cultural and economic ties and this agreement will help us continue to create great film and TV together for many more years to come.”

Australian minister for communications, urban infrastructure, cities and the arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the coproduction agreement provides an important pathway for the Australian screen industry to access international markets.

“Many important and culturally significant stories have been enabled by the coproduction agreement between Australia and the UK since its inception in 1990, and it provides an important pathway for Australian and UK producers to work closely to compete in the global market place,” he said.

“Thank you to all those who worked diligently in reaching in-principle agreement on the amendments. I am pleased that one of our most utilised coproduction agreements is one step closer to being modernised for a 21st century production environment.”

Neil Peplow, the BFI’s director of industry and international affairs, said: “This revised coproduction treaty provides UK and Australian producers with many more opportunities to build on the strong cultural and commercial ties we already enjoy. It will bring the two countries even closer together and allow us to tell stories that define who we are and how we relate on a global stage.”

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