The UK and Australian governments have signed an updated audiovisual co-production agreement.

According to the DCMS, the amendments will “modernise the 30-year-old agreement, making it easier for UK and Australian filmmakers to co-produce film and TV content together and strengthening the Government’s commitment to creating more skilled jobs and opportunities in the creative industries.”

The new agreement will allow UK-Australia co-productions to hire staff from third-party countries more easily. Co-producers will now also be able to make a smaller minimum financial contribution towards their project in order to benefit from the updated agreement.

Co-productions 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 famous cricketer Shane Warne. This latest agreement will “help build back better from the Covid-19 pandemic and make sure that UK stories continue to be told, both domestically and abroad.”

Creative Industries Minister Julia Lopez 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 greate 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: “Many important and culturally significant stories have been enabled by the co-production 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.”

Neil Peplow, the BFI’s Director of Industry and International Affairs, said: “This revised co-production 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.”

This agreement also 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. With a specific focus on film, the Season includes collaboration between ACMI, Australia’s national museum of screen culture, and the British Film Institute (BFI) presenting a series of films, performance and moving image art that explore themes of representation and identity and ask ‘Who We Are Now’. In October, the British Film Festival and Palaces Cinemas in Australia showcased the best of British film to Australian audiences.

Jon Creamer

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