WA Government announces 10-year screen strategy and funding boost

Western Australia's screen sector is on the Cook Government's agenda to boost production, infrastructure, tourism and jobs.

Last week, the Government of West Australia announced a 10-year Screen Industry Strategy designed to boost jobs, funding and infrastructure, and establish WA as a major international and national screen production destination.

The Western Australian Screen Industry Strategy 2024-34 provides a roadmap to coordinate and guide activities in support of the WA screen industry over the next 10 years.

The goals outlined in the strategy include:

  • To increase the annual measured economic contribution of screen industry Qualified Western Australian Expenditure (QWAE) across all formats and platforms.
  • To increase Western Australian stories, talent and content on screens by increasing the hours of Western Australian screen content created annually, growing the number of full-time WA games development employees to better reflect their proportion of the national population by 2034.
  • To increase the volume of content led by First Nations creatives and other creatives from diverse communities.
  • To increase the level of screen industry QWAE directly resulting from: production attraction incentives; post, digital and visual effects (PDV) incentives; and a new Screen Production Facility by 2034.

Outlining four strategic pillars and eight key initiatives, the strategy aims to grow the economic and cultural benefits derived from the industry, and align it with the State’s economic development framework, Diversify WA.

As part of this, the Labor Cook Government will deliver $31.9 million in investment over the next four years, including $13.2 million in 2024-25 State Budget for a Screen Industry Workforce Development Plan, initiatives to turn WA into an international screen production destination, and an additional $2 million over two years to extend the pilot Digital Games and Interactive Fund, which is delivered through Screenwest.

A key focus of the strategy is to implement a new workforce development plan that will allocate $11.2 million over four years to enhance local production skills and capabilities, and bolster the local screen industry workforce production capacity, in readiness for the completion of WA’s new Screen Production Facility.

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The Cook Government has already committed $233.5 million for the construction of the new Screen Production Facility near the Malaga METRONET Station Precinct. Construction is now underway and expected to be completed by 2026.

The Government has also provided further support for Screenwest with blockbuster funding of $9.2 million in Lotterywest grants for 2023/24, which is an increase of $1.5 million compared to the previous year.

This funding comes on top of the $18.7 million recently announced to finance the attraction of major productions to WA.

According to the Government’s media release, in 2023, a total of 41 film, television, digital games and post-digital and visual effects projects commenced production in WA, with 2024 shaping up to be even busier.

WA Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman is quoted as saying: ‘The Government believes show business is good business – that’s why we are investing heavily in the screen industry in WA to support local production, grow creative employment, attract public and private investment, diversify our economy, and showcase our great State as an attractive tourism destination.’

Minister Templeman said: ‘We want to create new highly skilled jobs across the State, and ensure WA’s screen workforce is world-class, thriving, and ready for the increased opportunities the State Government’s commitments will bring.

‘The WA Screen Industry Strategy will help attract Commonwealth incentives and investment to the State as WA becomes a place where international productions of a high quality are produced and WA stories are created to be shared with the world.’

SPA welcomes the WA Screen Industry strategy

Screen Producers Australia (SPA) congratulated the Government of Western Australia on the release of the ten-year strategy, with Matthew Deaner, SPA CEO, saying it was ‘a welcome acknowledgement of the economic importance of the screen industry as an important and high-value future sector for WA.’

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Deaner said: ‘An industry strategy that brings together the industry’s investment, skills, training, and infrastructure needs with an ambition to grow the sector is a significant boost to local screen businesses. This strategy will provide confidence and much-needed coordination to address the industry’s growing needs. 

‘In particular, SPA notes that the strategy recognises that development and production funding is needed to ensure that intellectual property is created and owned in WA. 

‘This initiative around development funding is critical to developing self-sustaining local screen businesses. Ownership of our industry’s product—the IP in the ideas, characters, and concepts—is the building block of our local industry,’ Mr Deaner said. 

SPA also noted the importance of building capacity in the sector through a workforce plan, and that this should focus on the critical ‘below-the-line’ jobs for screen crew – an issue raised by WA-based SPA members as a priority, to ensure they can staff their projects and meet the peaks and troughs of production.