Some of the world’s largest entertainment companies are warning Australia is uncompetitive when it comes to luring film studios Down Under.
The Australian government offers a location offset of 16.5 per cent for film and television projects filmed here when more than $15 million is spent locally on production.
But the likes of Village Roadshow argue that a 30 per cent rate would be better.
Currently, productions can apply for “top up” grants, as was the case with Aquaman, Thor: Ragnarok, Alien: Covenant and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, among others.
“Those projects brought close to $1 billion in direct investment into Australian businesses and employees,” Village Roadshow said in its submission.
They have clearly demonstrated both the benefits of large-scale international film production in Australia and that, with a 30 per cent rate, Australia can compete for “footloose” international productions.
Warner Bros agrees, saying the increased rate would make Australia competitive with other countries.
“Given your creative and technical crews are some of the best in the world, your geography diverse, and your visual effects and animation firms are market leaders, the country should be attracting more foreign productions,” the company said.
There is also a mutually exclusive producer offset incentive – a 40 per cent rebate on the spend of qualifying Australian films. The ABC and SBS are calling for a doubling of the 20 per cent rebate for television production doubled to match it.
Were that to happen, ABC director of television David Anderson expects there would be more Australian content on our screens.
“There would be more money available for independent producers to be able to expand,” he told a hearing in Canberra on Friday.
“I think you’d see a new variety of content that would come through.”
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield last month announced a review into Australian and children’s screen content.
Department officials confirmed to the committee both offsets were being looked at as part of the review and they were aware of calls for increases.