'Peter Rabbit 2'.

With Australia quickly earning a reputation internationally as a safe shooting destination, the NSW government has struck out with competitive bid to attract foreign production, pumping an additional $175 million towards the Made In NSW fund.

This will see the government commit an extra $35 million per year over the next five years, on top of the $40 million already earmarked for 2020-21 through to 2022-23.

While the cash injection appears aimed at getting Hollywood’s attention, there is also welcome news for local producers in that it comes with some loosening of the fund’s criteria.

Managed by Screen NSW, Made in NSW previously only supported international footloose production and Australian high-end TV drama. However, it will now also support new local features.

In announcing the measure, to be outlined in next week’s state budget, Treasurer Dominic said: “Our strong and continued investment means we are in a position to attract and retain the best productions so we can maintain a vibrant, thriving film industry here in NSW. 

“As the country’s engine-room for screen production with 56 per cent of the Australian screen industry employed in NSW, a significant amount of work is stimulated for trades, hospitality, transport, crew and other production services.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, screen production is exceptionally well placed to contribute to our economic recovery, and it’s lights, camera, action for jobs in our great state.”

The cash splash is the most competitive move yet by a state government to attract production in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Federal Government launched the $400 million Location Incentive Program in July to attract international projects to Australia. However, the four projects publicly announced thus far via the program have gone to Queensland and Victoria.

They include NBC series Young Rock, currently shooting in Brisbane, with Joe Exotic and Irreverent to follow, and Ozark-creator Mark Williams’ feature film Blacklight, starring Liam Neeson, which kicks off this week around Melbourne.

The $175 million committed is also around three times the amount the government has spent via Made in NSW since its inception.

First announced in 2016, the fund has seen $54 million put towards 18 international projects and 39 local TV dramas, generating $900 million spend and supporting 26,000 jobs.

These include two Marvel projects in Thor: Love and Thunder, which is in pre-production at Fox Studios, and the recently wrapped Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, together expected to create 2,500 and put $250 million into the state economy.

Other projects include both Peter Rabbit films, Pacific Rim Uprising and Bleeding Steel. Local TV dramas supported include Mystery Road, Mr Inbetween and Doctor Doctor.

“We have world-class crews and production facilities, extraordinary talent, and unique scenery across the state that can double for locations across the United States, UK, Asia, Europe and the Middle East,” said Minister for the Arts Don Harwin.  

“NSW really is the place for every story, and we are open for business.”

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