Qld Gov’t to waste $53M attracting temporary film industry activity

After the Queensland Government was willing to spend $8 million to attract a one-night State of Origin game to Townsville last week, it’s unsurprising it will be willing to spend $53 million attracting film productions providing only temporary economic activity and jobs to Queensland. The $53 million Production Attraction Strategy is part of a larger $71 million screen industry “cash splash” to be revealed in the Queensland state budget tomorrow, according to this Courier-Mail report. Surely there would be better things to spend $53 million on, including on capital projects which would deliver benefits for many years into the future.

What is the return on investment for the government’s contribution to the film industry? The government won’t tell us, as it would very likely be embarrassed. I’ve never seen a study showing Queenslanders are better off as a result of all these incentives. Back in 2015, the Queensland Competition Authority was certainly critical of assistance to the film industry in its Industry Assistance Review report, as I discussed in my post QCA review suggests major budget savings available from slashing wasteful industry assistance. The QCA recommended the Queensland Government should “cease providing attraction incentives for major film productions that deliver benefits largely appropriated by international production companies” (p. x).

My previous posts on film industry assistance include:

Hollywood subsidies by Qld Gov’t kept hidden – Qld Right-To-Info process a huge joke

ABC radio story on Hollywood blockbusters crowding out local productions featuring David Williamson and me

Hollywood grabbing excessive film industry support

Thankfully, it’s been revealed the state debt won’t be blowing out to the previously projected $130 billion, partly because a booming property market is bolstering stamp duty receipts. The state government should arguably be reducing future deficits further by avoiding wasteful spending such as the Production Attraction Strategy.

Photo by Paul Deetman, via Canva.

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