A still from the fifth season of 'Outback Opal Hunters'.

Screenwest will collaborate with the ABC on a new initiative designed to discover new returnable factual series concepts in Western Australia.

ABC Factual Formats will provide funding support to Western Australian producers to develop factual programs for ABC iview and the family-friendly 8pm Tuesday slot on ABC TV. Up to three ideas will be selected for development with at least one going into production in Western Australia later this year. 

ABC head of factual and culture Jennifer Collins said the state had a long track record of producing high-quality documentaries for the national broadcaster.

“This is an exciting opportunity to develop closer ties with the local production community and I’m looking forward to seeing the ideas being dreamt up for our ABC audiences,” she said.

WA factual projects of note include Gracie Otto’s feature documentary Under the Volcano, as well as series such as Every Family Has A Secret, Outback Truckers, Aussie Gold Hunters and Outback Opal Hunters. There is also the upcoming Ningaloo with Tim Winton – a major three-part series for the ABC – and Shipwreck Hunters Australia, the first Australian documentary for Disney+.

Screenwest CEO Rikki Lea Bestall, Screenwest CEO described the documentary sector as the “bedrock for the screen industry” in WA.

“We have a long history of producing world-class factual programming,” she said.

“This initiative will continue to build on the pipeline of original, local documentary projects being produced in WA with strong Western Australian creative and industrial outcomes.”

Full guidelines, eligibility, and applications are available here.

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