In its final report on government industry assistance (i.e. corporate welfare) released in August, the Queensland Competition Authority recommended an end to the lack of transparency that still, alas, characterises Queensland Government industry attraction measures. This lack of transparency was obvious on Friday when the Government announced the attraction of the Thor: Ragnarok film production to Queensland. As reported in the Gold Coast Bulletin:
The Premier declined to reveal whether the State Government had provided any financial incentives to secure the Marvel production, to be filmed exclusively in Queensland.
The State Government is rumoured to be contributing $3 million to the production while the Federal Government will reportedly kick in a total of $47.25 million towards Thor and Ridley Scott’s untitled Alien film, to be shot in Sydney.
This is regrettable, because it means the public is not given the opportunity to make a fully informed judgment about whether the assistance provided is in the best interests of the State. And it goes against clear recommendations made by the QCA that the Government should:
(a) cease providing attraction incentives for major film productions that deliver benefits largely appropriated by international production companies
(b) focus assistance for film and television production on activities that deliver net cultural benefits to the state
(c) ensure that any incentives, where government chooses to provide them, are provided transparently. (Recommendation 10.4, p. x of the report, which is available on the QCA website)
I have previously been highly critical of government assistance to the film industry, including in my 2013 article in the CIS’s Policy magazine Moochers making movies: Government assistance to the film industry. And, on ABC News in August, I expressed my disappointment that the Queensland Government had so quickly dismissed the QCA report’s recommendation (see my post ABC News interview on industry assistance).