Speech with Minister For Foreign Affairs, The Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister For Communications And The Arts, Senator The Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister For Trade, Tourism And Investment, The Hon Steven Ciobo MP
Village Roadshow Studios, Gold Coast
4 May 2018
Good morning and welcome to the film capital of Australia, the northern Gold Coast. Stuart Robert is my name. It’s wonderful to have the Foreign Minister here, Julie Bishop. Thank you for coming through. The Trade Minister and my great Gold Coast colleague, Steve Ciobo, Mitch Fifield, the Arts Minister and so many more of my colleagues here. Jane Prentice is here, Bert van Manen is here, Luke Howarth, Member for Petrie, is here, Ross Vasta is here. All electorates in the north here that contribute to the film industry. So, welcome to the northern Gold Coast. It’s great to see so many people here and great to see my Parliamentary colleagues here. My great pleasure to welcome a very good friend of mine and ours, Graham Burke, the head of Village Roadshow. Graham we’re in your facility, please come and welcome us to it. And let us know what Village Roadshow is up to.
Good morning everyone. What a great day for Australia. The Canadians, the Poms are not going to be very happy. (laughs) Because what the Minister for Arts, backed up by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Trade Minister, have given us is a level playing field. We can now compete with those foreign devils. In particular, it was only this week that a 41 sound stage studio was opened in China. And good luck. (laughs) Our studios here are somewhat of the fulcrum for the Queensland film industry. It was such exhilaration to be here last year when Aquaman was shooting. 2,500 Australian kids, some older, were doing what they do best. Now with a level playing field, we can get out there and we can win products for Australia and we can win products for Australia because our people are the best. When films are made here in Australia, whether it be the Fox Studios, the Docklands Studios in Melbourne, or in particular, Stu and my passion, in Queensland, the films have an edge because Australians, creatively, are good at what they do. Whatever the craft would be, whether it’s costumes, whether it’s set design, the film just sparkles that more. And that’s not lost on Hollywood, that’s not lost on the big moguls that green light the movies. So, again Senator Fifield, Foreign Affairs Julie, Steve, thank you. I would now like to introduce and my pleasure to introduce the dynamic Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Graham, thank you for welcoming us to your studio here, and I believe the last time I was on this set was the filming of Thor: Ragnorok, and what a great Australian production that turned out to be - a marvellous film. Thank you for having us here today Graham, and for a very important announcement. I began my day with a run along the beach of Surfers Paradise, and I was reminded yet again why it is that Queensland in particular, but also Australia more generally, is such a sought after location for film and television production from around the world.
I thank my colleague Stuart Robert for welcoming us to his electorate here in Fadden. I acknowledge my colleagues, my Ministerial colleagues in Mitch Fifield, the Minister for Communications and the Arts, Steve Ciobo, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and of course the Member for Moncrieff, Jane Prentice, the Minister for Disability Services and the other bevy of Queensland Members, Luke Howarth, Ross Vasta and Bert van Manen - we’re all here today because we support Australia’s creative industries.
Australia has some of the most talented people on the planet. They are innovative, they are imaginative, they are enterprising, and this creative talent can actually be quantified. Research shows that Australia’s creative industries contribute $90 billion to our GDP - $90 billion.
One of the most valuable components of our creative economy is the film and television production sector. We have, as Graham said, some of the most talented people on the planet. When a film is produced in Australia, the array of talent available to that production is awesome. Whether they be actors, thank you Luke Bracey for being here today, writers, producers, directors, but also skilled artisans in set design, in cinematography, in animation, in make-up, costumes, you name it. We can do it here better than anywhere else in the world. And when a large scale film production is in Australia, on average, about 3,000 of our talented people are employed on that film, about 6,000 local businesses provide goods and services in support of a large budget film production.
It’s a highly-competitive world. Other nations are providing incentives to attract international investment to ensure that a large budget film is produced in their country. Australia is a very popular destination because of our skilled and talented workforce and our extraordinary locations, whether they be here in Queensland, or in far north Western Australia, or in Tasmania or in Sydney or anywhere in between. We have some of the most spectacular and diverse landscapes, backdrops, settings that one could imagine.
Of course, we know that we have to compete for global capital which will go to the most attractive destination. Many countries are offering very generous tax measures to attract that global capital. We must remain competitive. We already have in place a suite of tax measures but today, I am pleased to announce an additional component to our strategy to attract international investment to Australia.
The Turnbull Government, under the leadership of the Arts portfolio of Senator Mitch Fifield, will provide a Location Incentive program. This will mean $140 million over four years will be available through a competitive grants scheme. This will mean that our talented, skilled actors, producers, set designers, costume makers, make-up artists, the whole gamut of talent, has an opportunity to continue to work in Australia. A pipeline of films means more job opportunities for Australians, not just here in Queensland, but across our great land. So, it is with immense pride that I announce our Minister for Communications and Arts, the Senator Mitch Fifield, to go through the detail of what this announcement will mean. Thank you Mitch.
Well, thank you very much Julie. And Stuart Robert – great to be on your patch. Graham Burke, thank you for having us in your house here at Village Roadshow studios, which has been the site of production of some fantastic Australian films, some fantastic overseas films. The common denominator between them is that they all employee Australians. And that is what today’s announcement is about – it’s about Australian jobs.
We only have the opportunity to make announcements such as this because of the hard work that my colleagues, led by the Treasurer, have undertaken to repair the Budget. Today’s announcement is one of the dividends of good Budget management.
I particularly want to acknowledge the Foreign Minister and the Minister for Trade and Investment, who have been absolute champions of the necessity to do everything we can to secure Australian jobs and to make Australia a competitive destination for investment in film.
We do have in Australia the best film industry in the world. We have fantastic costume designers, fantastic set designers; we have great actors, we have great producers, great directors; we have terrific carpenters and wonderful electricians all of whom are key ingredients to the magic that the film industry presents on screen.
As Julie has said, we are in a position to further enhance the screen incentives that we have. We currently have something called the location offset, which provides a 16.5% rebate. Our competitors around the world, in the United States, in some of the Canadian provinces, in Hungary currently offer a 30% rebate. So, what we are doing today, through the introduction of the Location Incentive, is putting in place a competitive grants program, where investors can come and have that 16.5% offset topped up to the equivalent of 30%. So, this makes us internationally competitive.
It’s extremely good news and this is all about jobs, jobs, jobs. It’s all about employment and opportunity for Australians. And what we will be requiring of those who avail themselves of the Location Incentive is that they demonstrate the contribution to the Australian economy, they demonstrate how they will employ people, they demonstrate the contribution that they will make to research and development, and that they demonstrate the training opportunities that there will be for Australians.
So it’s good news. And I do want to acknowledge all of my Parliamentary colleagues who are here for the work that they have done. Particularly Luke Howarth, who led the House of Representatives inquiry into this industry and has some good recommendations. Dean Smith, the Chair of the Government Communications and Arts Committee, for being a good conduit for the industry. Obviously Stuart Robert, who has been a passionate champion. Bert Van Manen, who has been an incredible champion, Jane Prentice as well. Ross Vasta has also been someone who has argued the case strongly along with Karen Andrews. But Steve Ciobo has also been at the forefront both as a local MP on the Gold Coast but also as the Minister for Trade and Investment, who is very excited about the opportunities for Australia that this presents. Steven Ciobo.
To all of the distinguished guests that are here. Julie, Mitch, all of our Parliamentary colleagues that are here, Graham, it’s terrific to be here in your studios. This represents terrific opportunities. The reason it represents terrific opportunities is consider what we’re doing together as a country around our tourism industry. Consider the fact that, for example, we have here today Luke Bracey, who just starred recently in our stellar new tourism promotion campaign in north America, with the new “Dundee” campaign. That’s a tourism campaign that’s having tremendous success, not withstanding the fact that it wasn’t Australia’s cricket captain, which is a little controversial now. (laughs) But that not withstanding, it does speak to the fact that we know that this is a medium is incredible at driving the full tourism potential for Australia. So, all of us recognise that not only is there a direct benefit for those employed in the film and TV industry and we anticipate something like three thousand direct beneficiaries of this announcement by the Coalition, and something like six thousand indirect businesses that will be beneficiaries from the back of this.
But we also know that there will be additional spill over benefits in particular, for Australia’s tourism industry. So, for me as Australia’s Tourism Minister, the chance to see two different programs benefiting as a direct result of this investment is a tremendous shot in the arm. So, in the North American market, we know the power of film as a medium for conveying a message about tourism to helping to drive more tourists to Australia, showcasing the very best parts of Australia on a big screen and providing incentive for people to come down under and to see the best of our great country. And there’s no better place to do it than the Gold Coast, but of course the benefits will also spill over to Sydney, to Melbourne and indeed to every corner of this magnificent country. So, Mitch and I have spoken at length, on a number of occasions, about ways in which we can make sure there’s a strong alignment between Australia’s tourism interests and this new incentive package including, for example, the potential for being able to make sure that in receiving additional funding we can have some spin-off benefits for Australia’s tourism industry. So, watch this space about what that might actually look like and the way in which Tourism Australia together with the Minister’s portfolio department will make sure that Australia is well-placed into the future to be able to benefit from it.
But can I simply conclude by saying, this is being delivered by the Coalition Government precisely because it’s had all of us putting our shoulder to the wheel and working as a team. So whether it’s through parliamentary committees that Luke’s chaired through to the ongoing tireless advocacy of people like Bert, Stuart, Ross, Jane as well as the work that Mitch, Julie and I have been able to do in the Cabinet, we’ve delivered this knowing full well that this means thousands of more jobs for Queenslanders, for New South Welshmen, for Victorians across this country, getting behind Australia’s film and TV industry in terms of those that supply the industry and those that work in the industry. But it also means for those who are cutting their teeth in this magnificent industry. They will have more opportunities than ever before to make sure that we can through this investment have a pipeline of film projects that means over time we can cut out the peaks and troughs that the industry traditionally is known for and have a continual, steady pipeline of opportunities for investment by government and the private sector to ensure a steady stream of work for those in the industry. So, delighted we’ve been able to deliver this through prudent economic management. And even more excited about the way in which we will use this industry to also leverage Australia’s tourism industry, which is critical for the 600,000 or so Australians that are employed in that sector. So, great news.
That concludes one of the great announcements here for the northern Gold Coast. Could I thank the Parliamentary team and all that you’ve done. Graham, thank you for having us in your house and bringing some of your friends – notably Batman, Wonder Woman and Batgirl – along to join us. I believe the Foreign Minister is going to have a doorstop somewhere out the back there. But otherwise, great news for the home of films in Australia, on the Gold Coast. Thank you again.
Authorised by Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Liberal Party of Australia, Parliament House, Canberra.