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16 December 2018
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AFC Trade Bulletin 11 June 2003

CONTENTS

1. Sydney Film Festival Forum: Free Trade or Local Culture? Is it a choice?
2. MEAA launch Free To Be Australian campaign


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1. Sydney Film Festival Forum: Free Trade or Local Culture? Is it a choice?
The State Room, State Theatre
2.30 pm Wednesday 11 June.

Despite recent assurances from Federal Trade Minister Mark Vaile, MPAA President Jack Valenti, and US Chief Negotiator Ralph Ives, tensions are still high amongst the local production industry over the possibility of culture being traded away in a US-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

The local film and television industry is preparing to put up strong opposition to any moves to weaken or abolish the regulations or structures that support local content for the current audiovisual environment now, and into the future.

Media consultant Nick Herd, Megan Elliott (Australian Writers' Guild), writer Geoffrey Atherden and Richard Harris (Australian Screen Directors' Association) will discuss the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, how it will be negotiated, and what the implications are for Australian audiences and the production industry.

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2. MEAA launch Free To Be Australian campaign

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance launched their 'Free to be Australian' campaign in Melbourne on 29 May. MEAA has produced an eight-page booklet explaining core trade issues. A campaign kit (poster, postcard, sticker, press release, and booklet) was distributed at the launch. The booklets have been mailed to all federal politicians, state premiers, state arts ministers and MEAA members.

As part of the campaign, Australian actors spoke of their concerns over a possible free trade agreement with the United States. Kerry Armstrong, Corrine Grant, Annie Phelan, Peter Phelps, Kate Kendall, Jason Donovan and Gary Sweet argued that quotas regulating local content could be lost. "In 10 to 20 years, Australians could be watching television with no Australian quota at all. Television programming could be turned back 30 years when American programs swamped viewing time"', Sweet told the Herald-Sun on 2 June.

The Free to be Australian campaign continues with additional briefings on 12, 13 and 15 June (Sydney) as well as 19 and 20 June (Melbourne).

MEAA has also launched a new free trade portal where members can keep up to date with all the latest news and information on the campaign.