Netflix has come through with a donation to support workers stood down in the hard-hit Australian screen industry.
Netflix has come through with a donation to support workers stood down in the hard-hit Australian screen industry.

Netflix’s $1 million Australian lifeline

Netflix has pledged $1 million to support the hard-hit Australian film and TV industry in response to COVID-19 mandated shutdowns of entertainment productions.

The American streaming company will create an emergency relief fund with music charity Support Act for workers stood down by the health crisis.

The money will be available in one-off $1000 grants to industry workers who apply.

Many of the screen industry workers in Australia work on a casual or project-to-project contract basis and are not eligible for the government's JobKeeper payments. These crew positions includes make-up artists, production hands, transportation personnel, catering, camera crew and more.

The Morrison government declined to support the arts sector with any specific packages when the industry was virtually shut down overnight as restrictions came in, despite pleas from Opposition Shadow Minister for the Arts Tony Burke.

With the onslaught of COVID-19, productions around the world and in Australia were shut down due to social distancing laws. One of the first to be put on hiatus was Baz Lurrhmann's Elvis film which is shooting on the Gold Coast when Tom Hanks was diagnosed with coronavirus.

Netflix was in the middle filming on a Melbourne-based TV production called Clickbait when COVID-19 struck.

The $1 million Australia donation is part of a larger global relief fund Netflix announced earlier in the year. That global fund was $US100 million but has since been increased to $US150 million.

With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted in many jurisdictions around the world, TV and film productions have recommenced.

James Cameron's Avatar sequel in New Zealand was one of the first productions to go back on set while Los Angeles County which includes the Hollywood production powerhouse has today given the green light for filming to recommence within guidelines. Canada's British Columbia, which includes screen production centre Vancouver, gave permission for productions to restart two days earlier.

Locally, Channel 10 soap Neighbours went back into production weeks ago with altered storylines that required less group interactions.

Originally published as Netflix's $1 million Australian lifeline


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