9 Mar 2022
By LOUIS MAYFIELD
Wallis Mt Barker Cinema has been given a $60,000 lifeline by the Federal Government.
The grant is part of a $7.3m investmentin 125 independent cinemas across the country under the latest round of Supporting Cinemas' Retention Endurance and Enhancement of Neighbourhoods (SCREEN) Fund.
The aim of the fund is to support the resurgence of independent cinemas after the disruption created by the pandemic.
Wallis Cinemas chief executive Tony Edmonds said the grant would help keep people employed, which was crucial as vaccine mandates continued to impact on staffing levels.
"We lost 70% of our income over two years because of the pandemic ... fortunately in Mt Barker we didn't have to lay anyone off," he said.
"Now as things continue to ramp up we're hoping to hire more people and get back to normal ... hopefully the Government will relax the vax mandates."
SA Senator Andrew McLachlan said the grants would allow independent cinema operators to continue providing popular entertainment for families.
"The cinema business has been hit especially hard during the pandemic, so it is critical that we all support local, independent cinemas like Wallis who employee 200 South Australians," he said.
"I encourage everybody to see a film. This will support local jobs at Wallis Cinemas as well as Australian film productions ... you will also have a great night out."
Administered by Screen Australia, the Government announced a second round of the fund in December to support independent cinema operators with grants of up to $85,000 who had experienced significant declines in revenue due to the pandemic.
SCREEN Fund applications are open until April 30 or until total funds are exhausted.