In a bid to attract Hollywood and local productions, the government of Australia’s New South Wales announced a $15M (AUD$20M) fund on Wednesday. The move by the Oz state was spearheaded by Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts, Troy Grant, who made no bones about the aim. “We have our sights firmly set on stealing Queensland and Victoria’s big film and TV productions,” the politico wrote on his Facebook page.
New South Wales, whose capital is Sydney, has had its fair share of big productions in recent years including Fox’s Ridley Scott-helmed Alien: Covenant, TV series Rake and Mad Max: Fury Road. Bordering state Queensland, however, has lately attracted Legendary/WB’s Kong: Skull Island; Disney/Mavel’s Thor: Ragnarok; and Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a bullish Grant wondered, “Why can’t we make the next Star Wars episode here? Why can’t we bring Game Of Thrones here?”
The paper also notes that Grant supported repeated industry calls for the federal government’s location offset to be more competitive. This has been a source of contention locally where the incentive remains stuck at 16.5%. It has occasionally been increased on a one-off basis for a major U.S. production.
The new Made in NSW fund will double existing government funding for the screen industry, to almost AUD$40M, over the next two years. Grant said it would mean up to 10,000 more jobs, over AUD$300M to local communities and a significant lift for tourism.
Grant today was surrounded by Australian actors including Bryan Brown when he called the fund “a warning to the other states in Australia that we’re taking you on and we’re going to beat you,” the SMH reports.