More action for Australia: Funding boost cements film industry’s growth

Julia Roberts, Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman have all been filming projects in Australia in the past 12 months.

Julia Roberts, Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman have all been filming projects in Australia in the past 12 months. Photo: Getty

The Australian screen biz has been given another nod, with the Queensland government funnelling another $71 million of funding into its film industry.

The state now has a booming movie and TV industry – you might recognise it from blockbusters such as Thor: Ragnarok, Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic and Ticket to Paradise.

Queensland (and Australia’s wider film industry) was an unexpected pandemic winner in 2020, luring the lights of Hollywood with a low-risk coronavirus environment and an experienced industry eager to work.

New South Wales, too, is feeling the love – led by recently honoured Chris Hemsworth.

Hemsworth is credited with championing Australia not just as a holiday destination, but a destination for the arts, specifically screen media.

“It’s such an incredible country, the diversity in the landscape, the amount of talent that is here,” Hemsworth said in April, as he announced his latest project in Mad Max spin-off Furiosa.

“Filmmakers and cast and crew that have gone overseas in the past are now able to stay here and hopefully that continues.”

Media industry expert Vincent O’Donnell said the continued investment gave a two-fold benefit to the country.

Attracting more productions of such a scale, Dr O’Donnell told The New Daily, allowed the screen industry to maintain its skill base and get promoted on the international stage.

Australia film industry funding increased in Queensland

Chris Hemsworth reportedly signed a three-movie deal with Netflix on the proviso they were all filmed in Australia. Photo: Getty

“It helps maintain high levels of technical skills, and our post-production industries are very strong because of that,” said Dr O’Donnell, who has 40-plus years experience across the industry, including research and education.

“And it also develops international contacts.”

The one fear Dr O’Donnell has about such heavy government investment in production in Australia is that it doesn’t allow the industry to build its own foundations, therefore not securing its own future.

“The Australian film industry, in reality, has never had a chance of becoming self sufficient, because the home market is too small, and our ability to penetrate overseas markets has been limited,” he said.

Dr O’Donnell said individuals within the industry tended to act for themselves, when it came to marketing Australian film media internationally.

If Australian film was developed as a cohesive brand to market overseas, the industry may have a shot at solidifying its future.

“I don’t know where that will come from,” he conceded.

“But for the time being, it’s nice to see money getting people employed. But we’ve run the danger of becoming an offshore location to which producers from overseas only come because of massive government subsidy.”

There’s no doubt the government’s dollars have helped to prop up the industry boom at present – here’s a quick look at some of the most expensive movies in production in Australia at the moment.


The Mad Max prequel will star Anya Taylor-Joy and Hemsworth. It’s slated to film throughout NSW, and will create about 850 jobs. It will also be the most expensive film shot in Australia – some estimates say it will bring $350 million to the economy.

Ticket to Paradise

Hollywood heart-throbs George Clooney and Julia Roberts are helming this project, filmed in the Whitsundays (but in the movie, it’ll be called Bali) and the Gold Coast. The Australian government chucked in $6.4 million by way of grants. Its return to our economy is believed to be $47 million and 270 jobs.

Nine Perfect Strangers

The Liane Moriarty adaptation starring Nicole Kidman will hit our screens in August, after filming at Kidman’s property in NSW last year. It reportedly contributed $100 million to the economy and supported “more than 250 full-time and around 1300 casual jobs”, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Topics: Movies
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