Australia Celebrates As Improved Rebate Scheme Arrives: “This Will Provide Certainty For International Productions”

Australia Celebrates As Improved Rebate Scheme Arrives: “This Will Provide Certainty For International Productions”

The Australian screen industry is celebrating after the country’s Location Offset scheme was raised to 30%.

The legislation, which was announced in May, was made law today and officially came into effect on July 1. It raises the rebate for TV and film productions shooting in the country from the previous 16.5% to 30% and will likely trigger more overseas investment.

Kate Marks, CEO of production body Ausfilm, hailed the change, saying: “This is fantastic news for the industry. The 30% Location Offset will provide certainty for international productions, supporting a stable pipeline of work for thousands of Australian screen workers and businesses, and triggering investment into new industry capacity and capabilities.”

Australian TV and film bodies have been advocating for the rebate improvement for years, work that has become all the more vital as Australia attracts more and more international shoots thanks to generous regional rebate systems in states such as Victoria and New South Wales. International production is a central element of The Australian government’s Revive National Cultural Policy.

“Australia has always been a great place to make films and TV: now, we are one of the most competitive,” said Marks. “Foreign spend on drama production and post-production reached record-breaking levels in 2022/23 per Screen Australia’s Drama Report, driven by large-scale titles such as Anyone But YouThe Fall GuyGodzilla x Kong: The New EmpireKingdom of the Planet of the Apes and Ricky Stanicky, alongside post, digital and visual effects work on titles that did not shoot in Australia such as HaloHocus Pocus 2 and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.”

Australia’s Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke, said the changes will benefit the entire Australian screen sector. “The more productions that choose Australia as their filming location, the more our Australian screen workers have the opportunity showcase their talents and hone their craft here at home – that’s why we’re increasing the Location Offset to encourage more large-budget productions to our shores,” he added.

To qualify for the rebate, Australian production expenditure thresholds have been increased from A$15M for film to A$20M and A$1M per hour for television series to A$1.5M. Productions will also be required to meet minimum training obligations or contribute to the broader workforce and infrastructure capacity of the sector; engage at least one Aussie post, digital and visual effects company; and provide new reporting to capture data.

The Location Incentive program launched during the pandemic has been merged into the new Location Offset. Australia also offers a 30% Post, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) Offset for international productions that travel to Australia for VFX and post.

The country’s incentives programmes also include a third scheme, the 40% Producer Offset, which is aimed at local productions and requires an Australian cultural test. Changes to this tax rebate brought in today are aimed at more Australian drama series benefitting from the scheme. 

A study by UK-based consultancy Olsberg SPI, commissioned by the Motion Picture Association and the Australia New Zealand Screen Association, found that Australia’s film and television incentives contributed a total of $11.4BN (A$16.5BN) to the country’s economic output for the four years to the 20201/22 financial year.

The MPA, which represents the U.S. studios, has previously welcomed the Location Offset, saying it would “allow Australia to remain competitive in this very active global industry, helping to ensure that Australia will be home to many more film and television productions for years to come.”

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