A federal budget boost to the Australian screen sector could be “a total game-changer”, an industry figure says.
- The location offset will increase from 16.5 per cent to 30 per cent if changes to tax law can be passed
- Ausfilm says the increase will cement Australia’s position as a global leader in the film industry
- Screen Queensland says the Sunshine State will be the big winner
The government is proposing to increase a tax rebate for international productions filmed on Australian shores as part of its $950 million investment in the arts.
The rebate — called a location offset — will increase from 16.5 per cent to 30 per cent for eligible productions if changes to tax laws are passed.
Screen Queensland acting chief executive Belinda Burns said the increase was “a total game-changer”.
“It’s a real signal of confidence to the wider global screen industry that we are open for business and we’re serious about getting productions into Queensland,” she said.
Ausfilm chief executive Kate Marks said the increase would build on Australia’s already excellent reputation as a production destination.
“A permanent 30 per cent location offset will ensure a robust pipeline of both physical production and post, digital and visual effects work into the future, and cement Australia’s position as a leader in the global screen industry,” she said.
Village Roadshow Studios president Lynne Benzie said Australia could have a chance to once again top the list of film production destinations.
“The 16.5 per cent [rebate], which has been in place for a long time, had started to become unattractive because other countries around the world were increasing their incentives,” she said.
Queensland a big winner
The streets and studios of Queensland have regularly hosted the cast and crew of blockbuster films in recent years, with Thor: Ragnarok, Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, Pirates of the Caribbean and Fool’s Gold among the many major productions filmed in the state.
Dr Burns said the increased rebate would benefit Queensland greatly, and not just within the film industry.
“Queensland has nine out of the 13 climate zones that filmmakers look for, so we’ve got a lot to offer,” she said.
“From spectacular rainforests in the Far North to beautiful beaches and really fantastic outback locations, we’ve got it all.
“[Production units] will come and use construction companies, freight companies, caterers — there’s a whole ecosystem around making a film that creates enormous economic flow-on benefits.”
Dr Burns said the Gold Coast had a particular reason to celebrate.
“The Gold Coast has a 30-to-40-year legacy of being the screen production hub for Queensland,” she said.
“And with Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin saying recently that they’re making it their new creative hub, then we really are ‘Goldywood.'”