NSW government announces more incentives

Millions more available for offshore productions

SYDNEY -- The New South Wales government Wednesday announced a new AUS$25 million ($21.25 million) film and TV funding package comprising $17 million in incentives for large scale offshore productions and $4.25 million for Screen NSW’s Production Investment Fund to support local productions, in a move designed to boost NSW's appeal as a production destination. 

“This is an unprecedented commitment by an Australian state to secure large-scale, continuous film and TV production,” NSW premier Kristina Kenneally said announcing the package. “We want to cement NSW as the nation’s premier location for screen production. This $25 million will support local jobs, it will support investment in the NSW economy, and it sends a clear message that -- here in NSW -- we are serious about staying number one,” she added.

"The additional funding will ensure NSW Government incentives are flexible and responsive to the unique creative and financial needs of screen production. This is particularly important in the current competitive environment,” minister for state development Ian McDonald said. “

According to Screen Australia’s annual National Production Survey, 63% of drama production in Australia was done in NSW in the 2009 fiscal year. More than 1,400 film and television-related businesses are located in NSW, employing more than 6,800 people and generating $1.3 billion in income to the state government each year.

But large-scale studio films have shied away from Australia in recent years due in part “adverse global economic conditions, a strong Australian dollar and fierce competition from other territories, both locally and globally,” according to McDonald. 
However, NSW has provided incentives for a number of big-budget, locally-produced features including animated films “Happy Feet 2” and “Legends of the Guardian: The Owls of Ga’Hoole," both backed by Warner Bros. as well as “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Warner Bros. welcomed the additional government support. “This fund will put NSW in serious consideration as we scout the world for potential locations for our upcoming features," Warner Bros. executive vice-president of physical production, Bill Draper said in a statement.

The package is the latest in a string of announcements by the government for film industry support totaling $28.5 million in the next financial year, and came on the opening day of the Sydney Film Festival, which the state government helps fund through a grant of $2.5 million over 3 years, announced earlier this year.