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Documentaries Investment
& slate management principles

In an environment where the Producer Offset provides the primary means of government support for projects with commercial potential, Screen Australia’s investment and slate management principles are governed by its enabling legislation, the Screen Australia Act 2008, to:

ensure the development of a diverse range of Australian programs that deal with matters of national interest or importance to Australians, or that illustrate or interpret aspects of Australia or the life and activities of Australian people.

Further, where projects seeking Screen Australia support are intended for television broadcast, Screen Australia needs to work closely with both broadcasters and producers in order for its limited funds to have maximum impact.

Screen Australia thus proposes to manage its broadcast documentary slate in collaboration with producers and broadcasters, according to the following principles:

  • Consultation with producers and broadcasters about the year’s slate and upcoming priorities
  • Recognition of broadcaster expertise in connecting with audiences as part of the broadcaster’s commissioning process
  • Reserving the right to make investment decisions based on published assessment criteria that reflect the requirements of the Screen Australia Act, and the over-arching aims of its documentary funding programs.
Screen Australia first published these slate management principles in the 2009 guidelines. They are an important way of acknowledging the broadcaster’s role in connecting with audiences as well as clarifying Screen Australia’s position as an investor with public accountability for its funding decisions. The aim is to balance the broadcaster’s commissioning expertise, Screen Australia’s accountability for its funds, and the producer’s ultimate responsibility for the project. See also Funding Approvals.