Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich with SPA CEO Matt Deaner.

In part two of IF’s chat with Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich, she discusses what’s next for the state in terms of capacity building across infrastructure and skills development, as well as the impact of the recent changes to the state’s PDV rebate in both the games and post-production sectors.

IF: There has previously been mention of a Gold Coast television hub being established. What stage is that at?

Kylie Munnich: It’s still part of the plan. We’ve been a bit more focused in trying to get the Cairns one up and running first. Another thing I was doing in London was looking at new technologies and we are certainly searching for a site on the Gold Coast. It would be quite a small-scale studio and we do hope that it will complement existing facilities there.

Is there a timeline for that facility?

KM: It’s something we’ve been working on pretty hard since it was announced and finding a location is proving quite challenging.

I haven’t got a timeframe but I know that we will deliver Cairns this year and I hope that we can make some advancement in trying to get the Gold Coast facility off the ground this year too.

Another aspect of the screen industry that Queensland hasn’t been specifically known for in the past is post-production and visual effects. Do you think that is starting to shift?

KM: Well, we’ve made some bold strides in that space, including increasing the incentive from 10 per cent to 15 per cent last year.

We wanted to make it the most competitive on the east coast. When the Federal Government was looking to change the PDV incentives and the threshold, we acted to counter that, so that Queensland PDV companies were not disproportionately disadvantaged. Once we lowered our threshold from $500,000 to $250,000 and increased our incentive, we saw an immediate increase in applications and work coming through the state.

So you’re seeing a growing industry here. There are new companies opening up and expanding into Queensland and their existing companies are taking advantage of that. So yes, you’re right, it’s not as big as some of the other states, but I think our incentive is designed to address that and really help some of those Queensland companies to scale up.

State agencies are also putting a renewed focus on games. Screen Queensland has widened the PDV rebate to include games what is your specific strategy when it comes to the industry?

KM: Well, we didn’t have a [games rebate] before that. We had games development money, but that really wasn’t targeting the growth of the industry. It was quite specific and small scale, while our game incentive, which matches PDV at 15 per cent, is again the most generous in Australia.

We also saw an immediate uptake from that with PlaySide expanding to open a studio on the Gold Coast. We know that there’s going to be a huge amount of demand for this because the games industry eclipses the film and television industry worldwide and are fantastic games companies throughout Australia. We want to give them a reason to use Queensland as a base to expand or to set up, while also helping existing Queensland companies be able to grow.

We’ve hired our first ever content director who’s a games specialist, so we can really focus on attracting and building that business in Queensland.

Do you think the PDV rebate, along with a Gold Coast television hub, will change perceptions of the state going forward, or do you think some of the recent productions in the state serve as examples that Queensland is already a well-rounded production destination?

KM: Well we have decades of experience – Village Roadshow is 30 years old – so this is not something new. It certainly goes in waves in the industry but what we’ve seen in the last two years against the backdrop of the pandemic is momentum and sustained growth.

Our aim as an agency to support that and our agency is full of people with real world film, television and games experience.

We’re huge advocates and enthusiasts for all strands of the industry so we want to keep this going and for Queensland to be recognised for the achievements and the skills and the locations that we have.

We got lucky in the pandemic and now we’ve really held on to that and harnessed it.

We’re going to keep riding this wave because I don’t want it to be a blip in the graph as one year only.

What are the plans in terms of capacity building in relation to skills?

KM: Like every state agency and Screen Australia, we recognise that increased demand means increased demand for skills, so we have a number of programs as initiatives of Screen Queensland, such as our attachment program across every project that we fund.

We’re doing skills training with AFTRS and we’ve engaged Screenworks for a three-year regional program to work with us. We have also funded games internships via our games fund and we’re about to fund five PDV traineeships for a year, So we’re actively testing and working with industry to help address those skills shortages.

Click here to view part one.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.