Tue, 08 Feb 2022 - 08:43
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NEIL BREEN: Now we all know how much Annastacia Palaszczuk loves to boast about bringing Hollywood to Queensland, it's her favourite thing. Absolutely her favourite thing. So many movies and TV shows filmed here in recent years. We've just had George Clooney and Julia Roberts here, haven't we? But the state and federal governments are currently at an impasse, and it could cost Queensland it’s next big blockbuster. Now - what's it all about? Paul Fletcher is the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts. He joins me now. Good morning, Minister.

PAUL FLETCHER: Good morning Neil, good to be with you.

NEIL BREEN: Well, it's no surprise that the feds are at odds with the Queensland state government, but this one's about movie funding. What's happening?

PAUL FLETCHER: Well, in fact, I think what the Morrison Government and the Queensland Government want is very much the same thing, which is to get more big movies to Queensland. And under the Morrison Government's Location Incentive program, we've attracted to it productions to Australia. Of those, 14 have been filmed in Queensland. Just this week, Nautilus is starting filming in Queensland at Village Roadshow Studios - $23 million of Commonwealth funding. So, presently there's another production which is in discussions with both the Commonwealth government and the Queensland government in relation to filming in Queensland, that would provide over 500 jobs. And the Commonwealth government is ready to provide $16 million under our Location Incentive program, so we're working hard to bring this movie to Queensland. Curiously, the Queensland government seems to be concerned about a Commonwealth government policy requirement that there is transparency about film funding. So transparency about how much the Commonwealth commits, we're totally transparent, and also transparency about how much the Queensland government commits. So that seems to be what's causing the Queensland government some concern at the moment. So look, I'd certainly call on them to be transparent about the amount of money they're committing so we can jointly bring this production to Queensland and get those 500 jobs for Australian cast and crew.

NEIL BREEN: Okay, so this Commonwealth government policy, is it a new policy whereby you with any state, not just Queensland, but any state, if you're pumping money into a film or production to get it here, an enticement to get it here so it stimulates our economy - you put it down that we're spending, say, $16 million on this one. But you'll only give the money if the Queensland government says beauty, we're going to put in 10 or we're putting in 16 or we're putting in one or 30, or whatever it is?

PAUL FLETCHER: That's right. It's a transparency requirement. As you rightly say, it applies to all states and territories - just in the last week or so we've reached agreement on a production that will start in New South Wales shortly. New South Wales government had no problem with that requirement at all. And that'll be announced in coming weeks. For some reason at the moment, the Queensland government seems to have a problem with being transparent about it. I'd call on them to be open with the Queensland taxpayers -

NEIL BREEN: Well it's our money!

PAUL FLETCHER: It's taxpayers money.

NEIL BREEN: Yeah that’s right.

PAUL FLETCHER: And the general principle of transparency is a good one when it comes to public administration. Look, we've worked together very successfully with the Queensland government to attract a whole stream of movies. Typically, the amount of Commonwealth funding is about three to four times as much as the amount of Queensland funding. But ultimately, we're both working together to achieve the same outcome, which is to get global movies to Australia. You know, under the Morrison Government's Location Incentive program, in total over 17,800 employment opportunities around the country and as I've mentioned, half of the movies that have been attracted have been filmed or will film in Queensland - a total of $120 million of Commonwealth money backing screen investment in Queensland. So, we're very keen to work with the Queensland government to attract this next production. All we're saying is let's have both governments be transparent with the public about how much public money is going in to support these screen productions.

NEIL BREEN: Okay, so Nautilus is about to start at Village Roadshow. Can you tell us what this production is? This $16 million one, or is it confidential at this stage?

PAUL FLETCHER: We do have to be a little bit confidential in fairness to the productions - we leave it to them to sort of publicise things like even the title, but also things like what the story is, who's going to be in it and so on. You know, that's what they specialise in, creating great pizzazz and excitement about their movies, and they do it very well. So we do try to be very careful to respect that. Look, we work with production companies from around the world and the Morrison Government’s Location Incentive program - it's $540 million going through to 2026/27. The whole idea is to create a big pipeline of these movies so they keep coming back to Queensland and to the other states of Australia. And it has worked pretty effectively. We're keen to work closely with state and territory governments around the country. Commonwealth money going, in state and territory government money going in. And that way we attract lots of global screen productions to Australia, boosting our screen sector, adding employment opportunities, downstream opportunities for Australian businesses. And of course, getting great Aussie landscapes on screen seen around the world.

NEIL BREEN: Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts. Good luck in Parliament today. It's all back on.

PAUL FLETCHER: Thanks, Neil. Yeah, we're back into it and it's going to be going to be a busy couple of weeks in parliament.

NEIL BREEN: Don't forget your mouth guard!