Home' Policy Magazine : Policy Vol 33 - No 1 Contents 25
POLICY • Vol. 33 No. 1 • Autumn 2017
had a more significant impact in New Zealand, as
it featured beautiful locations readily identifiable
as being in New Zealand that are also accessible to
tourists. By contrast, the remoteness and difficulty
of accessing the Kimberley, which featured in Baz
Luhrmann’s Australia, was always likely to limit the
amount of film-induced tourism from that movie.
Overall, there is therefore little reason and no hard
evidence to suggest that film-induced tourism has
been significant in Australia.
Some US jurisdictions that have previously heavily
subsidised Hollywood productions, particularly
the States of Florida and Louisiana, have scaled
back their levels of support in recent years. Broadly
speaking, they have not seen the economic and fiscal
benefits that were purported to be generated by
film productions. For example, in 2015 the Florida
Office of Economic and Demographic Research
estimated net fiscal losses from the state’s sales tax
exemption program for the film industry, finding a
return on investment of 0.54: ‘ . . . for every dollar of
foregone sales tax collections the program returned
fifty-four cents in other state revenue collections.’
Unsurprisingly, Florida did not extend its film
industry incentives that were due to expire in 2016.
This has resulted in claims that the film industry
‘is one step away from dead’,
the problem with subsidising unviable industries.
Workers and businesses in Florida had come to rely
on the film industry, and face substantial adjustment
costs now that the industry has contracted. In the
absence of previously heavily subsidised levels of
activity, workers may have undertaken training
or looked for other jobs. By supporting the film
industry at an unviable scale in Florida, subsidies
gave workers and businesses false hope.
It does not make sense for governments to pick
winners and losers, but that is what they are doing
when they extend special tax breaks to the film
industry. Instead, we should focus on getting our
overall tax and regulatory policy settings right so
that we can attract foreign productions without
having to offer special rates for special mates.
1 See Greg Jericho, ‘How Much Does Australia Really
Subsidise Overseas Films? And Is It Worth It?’, The
Guardian (26 October 2016).
2 Australian Government, Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal
Outlook, 2016-17 and George Brandis, Campbell Newman
and Ian Walker, Joint media release: ‘Walt Disney Studios
to film fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie in Queensland,
3 Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, ‘Queensland
Secures Aquaman and More Than 600 Jobs’, http://
4 Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games,
Stirling Hinchliffe, ‘Mega Sound Stage New Home for
“God of Thunder” Down Under’, http://statements.qld.
5 See Gene Tunny, ‘Moochers Making Movies’, Policy
(Autumn 2013), 9-15.
6 Queensland Premier, ‘Queensland Secures Aquaman and
More Than 600 Jobs’.
7 Ryan Keen, ‘ Workers at Gold Coast’s Village Roadshow
Studios Fume at Cuts from Thor: Ragnarok Starring Chris
Hemsworth’, Gold Coast Bulletin (29 July 2016), http://
8 See, for example, Gene Tunny, ‘Carr’s Car Cash and
Australia’s Reform Malaise’, Policy (Spring 2011), 15-22.
9 Queensland Government, Project Assessment Framework:
Cost-Benefit Analysis, 16.
10 Sue Beeton, ‘Film It and Will They Come?’, https://www.
11 Office of Economic and Demographic Research, Return on
Investment for the Entertainment Industry Incentive Programs
(Tallahasee, Florida: OEDR, January 2015), 23.
12 Matthew Richardson, ‘Quiet on the Set: Why This May
have been Florida’s Last Year to Renew Film Incentives’,
Orlando Business Journal (11 March 2016), http://www.
13 Fred Moyse, business manager of IATSE Local 477,
quoted in David Robb, ‘How the Koch Brothers are
Killing the Florida Film Business’, Deadline Hollywood
(21 October 2016), http://deadline.com/2016/10/
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