A $20 million funding boost to assist independent cinema operators, including Majestic Cinemas in Port Macquarie, will help offset significant declines in revenue due to the COVID pandemic.
The Supporting Cinemas' Retention Endurance and Enhancement of Neighbourhoods (SCREEN) Fund, administered by Screen Australia, will assist independent cinema operators with one-off business continuity grants of up to $85,000.
Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan said the fund is expected to support up to 390 cinemas across the country manage the significant economic, health and social challenges they are facing as a result of COVID-19.
"The pandemic has had a devastating impact on cinemas, who have struggled to recover due to circumstances that were out of their control, such as capacity restrictions and a reduced flow of new release films by major distributors," he said.
"Independent cinemas - including Majestic Cinemas - represent around 30 per cent of the cinema exhibition sector in Australia, and play a key role by providing a popular, low-cost and COVID-safe way for people to go out and enjoy a movie as part of a community - particularly in regional areas.
"We're introducing this funding to help support the viability of independent cinemas during this period when their business circumstances are still returning to normality, as the vaccine rollout progresses and Australia moves towards higher audience capacities."
Majestic Cinemas' CEO Kieren Dell welcomes the $20m support package.
"I have been working closely on with our local Members of Parliament - Pat Conaghan and Dr David Gillespie - both of whom I would like to thank for their support," he said.
"This support will go a long way to keeping us open and able to keep employing all our staff for the next 4-5 months, by which time we are hopeful to be back to a normal movie release pattern and seeing increased audience numbers."
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