Australia Increases Foreign Movie Production Incentive

Screengrab/Warner Bros. Pictures
'Aquaman' used the Australian governement's locations incentives to film in Queensland

Large-budget international features can now access up to $105 million from the new Location Incentive Fund.

The Australian government is looking to attract more international movie productions to the country by lifting the location incentive, effectively increasing the tax rebate provided to large-budget international productions from 16 percent to 30 percent, government officials said Friday.

A new $105 million (AUS$140 million) Location Incentive Fund will come into effect from July 1 and will be effective for the next four years. The move provides certainty to the Australian film and TV sector and international studios that have long been asking for a permanent lift to the location offset to 30 percent, to be more internationally competitive. In recent years studio features including Aquaman, Thor: Ragnarok and Alien: Covenant have all been filmed in Australia after the federal government topped up the location offset to 30 percent with individual grants on a case-by-case basis.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop said it's estimated that the boost to the existing incentives will bring in productions that will provide over $196 million in new foreign investment to the local economy. While no new productions have yet been announced, anything coming through the pipeline will create more than 3,000 jobs for Australian cast and crew, and support the services of around 6,000 Australian businesses each year, Bishop said.

Locations marketing agency Ausfilm welcomed the new funding, with CEO Debra Richards saying it's “outstanding news for Australia’s crews, technicians, studios, VFX and postproduction facilities and any business that benefits from large-scale international screen production across Australia.”

“Australia can now compete globally with territories like New Zealand, Atlanta, Canada and the U.K., who have been highly successful in attracting large-scale productions. With a certain and clear competitive Location Incentive, Australia will be able to secure up to another $151 million per annum in additional production value,” she added.

Ausfilm research shows that large-scale international productions contributed over $453 million in foreign direct investment to the Australian economy in the 2017 fiscal year.