While there has been optimism around the film industry that the federal government will boost the incentive to attract big international movies in the National Cultural Policy next week, that may just be wishful thinking.
A spokesman for Arts Minister Simon Crean says there is ''zero certainty'' about a mooted increase in the location offset from 16.5 per cent to 30 per cent.
At this stage, it is ''certainly not locked in''. The Greens on Wednesday joined the Screen Producers Association of Australia, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance and Ausfilm – the government agency charged with selling the virtues of filming in Australia to foreign production companies – in calling for the increase rather than relying on the extra one-off payment that attracted The Wolverine and has been offered to Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.
It means the government would subsidise 30 per cent of a movie's qualifying Australian budget to compete with incentives offered in other countries and compensate for the high value of the dollar – a significant move given that international movies are bypassing Australia for cheaper filming locations.
The Greens say the Parliamentary Budget Office has calculated the measure would cost just $27 million over the next four years, while attracting tens of millions of dollars into the country and supporting hundreds of film industry jobs.