Aussie Film Industry Gets a $400 Million Boost to Lure Productions Down Under

Aussie Film Industry Gets a $400 Million Boost to Lure Productions Down Under
(L-R) Chris Hemsworth, Taika Waititi and Mark Ruffalo attend the Thor: Ragnarok Sydney Screening Event in Sydney, Australia on Oct. 15, 2017. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images for Disney)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on July 17, a $400 million boost to the film and television industry to encourage entertainment companies to relocate their production to Australia for long-term projects over the next seven years.

Currently, Australia is in a unique position to attract major screen productions that have long-term pipelines because of our success in suppressing COVID-19.

"To help achieve this we are extending our screen incentive over seven years, working together with the tax system, to ensure that studios can commit to multiple productions over multiple years," said the prime minister.

Designed to expand the Morrison government's 2018 Location Incentive program, the new funding boost is estimated by the government to attract $3 billion in foreign expenditure. This will help create up to 8,000 new jobs for carpenters, lighting technicians, local actors, set designers, production crews, and special effects experts Morrison explained.
Speaking on Seven's Sunrise program on July 17  the prime minister said: "People often think this is just jobs for actors no, well, there are jobs for actors, but there importantly for all the trades and other skills that go into making that sector and 8,000 jobs are a lot of jobs."
"Lights, camera, jobs that is what this about," said Morrison at the official announcement on the Gold Coast.

The entertainment industry has responded well to the announcement with Morrison saying he had already heard from Screen Australia that Hollywood directors Jerry Bruckheimer and Ron Howard's production companies had reached out to the government based on the announcement.

"There is serious interest in basing films here in Australia," said Morrison noting that Disney, Paramount, and the Marvel series had already realised that Australia was a safe place to make world-class productions.

To date, the Australian government has given $123 million in funding to 10 productions through the Location Incentive program, including "Thor: Love and Thunder" and "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" in Sydney, "Godzilla vs Kong" on the Gold Coast, "Shantaram" and "The Alchemyst" in Melbourne.

The government estimates that these projects will generate spending of around $1 billion in the economy and support 8,500 local jobs over multiple years by engaging with more than 9,000 Australian businesses.

The prime minister also noted that this investment would mean that the Australian screen and film industry would be a vital part of the country's economic recovery.

Screen Producers Australia (SPA) in a media release on July 17 that they welcomed the federal government's announcement but they cautioned there was a need to balance this support for international productions with assistance for the making of Australian stories.

At this critical time, SPA believes the government also needs to ensure there are "appropriate support measures in place that will allow us to continue to make Australian stories, told by Australian voices, supported by sustainable Australian production businesses."

Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian based reporter who focuses on national politics and the geopolitical environment in the Asia-pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.