Ausfilm has called for a boost to Australia’s location filming incentives with the arrival in Sydney of X-Men spin-off The Wolverine. Australia has been short on big-budget international filming productions in the last few years and the country is keen to take advantage of renewed Hollywood focus.
The Wolverine received a special Government subsidy of nearly AUD13 million to film in Australia, which is equivalent to a 30% rebate. It’s based at Sydney’s Fox Studios and is expected to spend around AUD80 million locally. Australia’s location offset filming incentive is currently 16.5% of qualifying expenditure, but Ausfilm wants to double this figure.
Debra Richards is with Ausfilm and spoke to news agency AFP: “[Australia is] not being looked at [as a filming location] because it just is not viable financially. Even though people want to work with us, when you look at it and you compare it to other territories, then it’s not as attractive. So kicking the location offset up to 30% allows us to still be compared – at the moment at 16.5% we’re not.”
Even though people want to work with us, when you look at it and you compare it to other territories, then it’s not as attractive.
Debra Richards, Ausfilm
Australia’s filming industries have suffered because of the strength of its dollar, which cranks up production costs for the major US studios. Star Hugh Jackman is also a producer on The Wolverine and personally reached out to Julia Gillard, the Australian Prime Minister, to appeal for a one-off incentive payment.
Baz Luhrmann’s lavish adaptation of The Great Gatsby recently filmed at Sydney’s Fox Studios, but a big-budget adaptation of Paradise Lost was cancelled as costs spiralled. Ambitious TV series Terra Nova, co-produced by Steven Spielberg, was cancelled after only one season filming in Queensland.
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