State government sets aside A$20m per year to help entice international films and local productions from other parts of Australia to NSW.

Production activity in New South Wales should rise as a result of this morning’s announcement in Sydney that the State Government is to put aside $16.6m (A$20m) per year to help entice international films and local productions from other parts of Australia to the state.

The Premier, Kristina Keneally, flanked by three ministers and Sydney-based filmmaker George Miller, described it as “an unprecedented commitment by an Australian state to secure large-scale, continuous film and TV production”.

US-based Warner Bros executive Bill Draper, said in a prepared statement: “The fund will put NSW in serious consideration as we scout the world for potential locations for our upcoming features.”

The A$20m will be administered through the government agency Industry & Investment NSW which, up until now, has only had a small pot of money to convince big international films to film locally. Especially as the Australia dollar has gathered strength, it has not been enough.

Projects wanting to access a slice of the money will be assessed case-by-case; in general terms it will be provided as cash rebates, calculated as a percentage of the total amount spent in NSW.

Factors considered will include labour costs, the number of local cast and crew employed, the number of regional locations used, the new technology employed, whether post-production is undertaken in NSW, the direct economic benefit to the state, and so on.

It was also announced that Screen NSW, the state’s film agency run by Tania Chambers, has an additional $4.2m (A$5m) for investment in New South Wales projects.

The Sydney Film Festival tonight opens with South Solitary, directed by Shirley Barrett (Love Serenade), and the announcement is sure to be much talked about at the party afterwards.

Miller is currently working on Happy Feet 2 and hopes to start production on Fury Road, the next Mad Max film, this year.