Australia’s location offset, the financial incentive to attract international film and TV production, has been increased to 30%, in a surprise move by the Australian government.
Films spending at least A$20 million, up from A$15 million, in Australia on Australian goods and services can now claim back 30% of that on completion. The minimum threshold for television has increased from A$1m to A$1.5m per hour.
Producers will have to meet training obligations and use at least one Australian provider of post or visual effects.
It was previously possible to secure 30% but only for a few able to negotiate the complexities and secure what used to be a 16.5% rebate as well as a grant.
Recent features to shoot in Australia include Universal Filmed Entertainment Group’s The Fall Guy, Peter Farrelly’s comedy Ricky Stanicky for Amazon, and Highland Film Group, Volition Media Partners, Broken Open Pictures’ Land Of Bad, starring Russell Crowe, Liam Hemsworth and Luke Hemsworth.
This month it was announced the unscripted series Stars on Mars would be made in South Australia. Commissioned by Fox Entertainment from Fremantle’s Eureka Productions, the series features William Shatner. It will shoot in Coober Pedy, a town in northern South Australia, standing in as another planet.
The change was announced in the 2023/24 Federal Budget, delivered on May 9, and was a surprise to many, despite years of lobbying. It is applicable from 1 July – subject to the passage of legislation.
Ausfilm CEO Kate Marks said it was “outstanding” news that would ensure a robust pipeline of physical production and PDV (post, digital, visual effects) work, certainty and stability for international production, and stable employment for thousands of Australian businesses and individuals.
“We want to maintain the great production levels we’ve had [in recent years], which are above the five-year average,” she told Screen “It’s not about opening the floodgates and increasing activity exponentially. … It’s about building our industry’s capacity over time.”
Ausfilm has a four-year budget of A$6.9m to promote Australia as a location. Marks hopes the move will see private investment in infrastructure that will benefit the entire production ecosystem. Not just studios, although “it’s a well-known fact that Australia could do with more studios,” said Marks , but also, for example, grips and gaffers buying more equipment.
“The responses I’ve got from a whole range of people in the last 15 hours – businesses and crew – have been very positive,” she said.
Over the past five years, 40 international productions have generated more than A$3.3 billion in private investment and 22,200 employment opportunities, according to Ausfilm. It is unclear how the figure was arrived at, but the jump up to 30% and the new minimum expenditure will add A$112.3 million to the pot used to attract international investment, according to prime minister Anthony Albanese’s Labor government, which has been in power since mid-2022.
An extra A$950 million has been made available in the budget over four years, across the broad A$17 billion arts industry and this represents record new investment, the government claims.