16 February, 2021
The independent cinemas of Australia need our help. Our local theatres—mine is the Orpheum in Cremorne—provide a cultural hub, a place of entertainment, community and engagement. It is where we tell our stories. Independent cinemas are strong supporters of the Australian film industry. They are usually family owned, they employ over 13,000 people across the nation and they contribute $250 million to our economy every year. They are drivers for local restaurants, pubs, wine bars and shopping centres and support local communities, particularly in regional areas. Yet this sector is falling through the cracks and needs our help.
Since the pandemic, independent cinemas have reported a 70 per cent reduction in revenue due to a combination of mandated closures, constraints on capacity and loss of supply as distributors withhold the release of new films. Yesterday, Minister Fletcher stood in this place and rattled off the long list of international productions being filmed here in Australia. He described it as 'a cornucopia of global productions' but, sadly, we did not hear him boasting about measures to save Australian independent cinemas or our domestic film and arts industries. I call on the Morrison government to listen to the independent cinemas industry and their desperate call for targeted support before it's too late and these beloved community spaces are lost forever.