Australia’s federal government has tweaked the rules of its producer offset system so that soap operas and other drama series can qualify for subsidy. Channel Seven’s “Home and Away” will become newly eligible.
The producer offset gives a tax rebate to producers for expenditure on eligible Australian films, television and other projects. Currently, a drama series must spend at least A$500,000 ($336,000) per hour in qualifying Australian production expenditure (costs incurred for goods and services used or provided in Australia).
It provides a 40% rebate for feature film and a 30% rebate for productions on other platforms, calculated as a percentage of a production’s qualifying Australian production expenditure.
With the new system, drama series that spend at least $35 million ($23.5 million) per season in qualifying Australian production expenditure, but fall short of the per hour spending requirement, will be newly eligible for the offset.
The new per season threshold will apply to drama series that start filming after July 1, 2024.
“We want to see more Australian stories shown on screen. Backing in Australian drama is essential to that,” said federal Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke. “This change will help to support more iconic Australian stories being told and shared by the people who know them best.”
“Home and Away” is the second longest-running TV drama series on Australain TV, following “Neighbours.” Following the lives and loves of the residents of Summer Bay, a fictional town in New South Wales, it has played on Channel Seven since 1988. It still runs four days per week on the channel and has been licensed to broadcasters and streamers in some 80 countries.
Alf Stewart is the only original cast member still on the production. Celebrity guest appearances have included Ed Sheeran, Michael Palin and Atomic Kitten. Chris Hemsworth appeared in nearly 200 episodes between 2004 and 2007, before he became a Marvel star.