Australia's appeal as a location for runaway productions is set to get another boost with Queensland Premier Peter Beattie's decision to grant a $4.3m (A$8m) loan to the Warner Roadshow MovieWorld Studios in order to increase its size by 50%. Once completed, the Gold Coast facility will be one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.
Beattie said the expansion would ensure a "dramatic increase" in the amount of production within the state. Two new sound stages of about 1,600 square metres and 2,200 square metres will be built, along with production offices and construction workshops. With the studio experiencing record levels of demand, construction will be fast-tracked to be up and running by August.
"We are backing the project because it is estimated that more than 2,500 new jobs will be created in the film industry for Queenslanders," said Beattie, who said the studios have injected $326.6m (A$615m) into Queensland's economy since 1991. "The film industry in Queensland currently supports about 4,500 jobs", he added. Warner Roadshow will repay the loan through film production at the enlarged studio.
Currently shooting in Queensland are Ghost Ship, about a boat salvage crew that discovers the eerie remains of a grand passenger liner lost for more than 40 years, as well as Matrix Reloaded and Matrix ' The Revolutions, which are shooting at Fox Studios Australia.