02 November, 2022

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. R.B. Martin:

 That this council—

  1. Acknowledges that 2022 marks the 50thyear of the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC);
  2. Recognises the significant social, cultural and economic contributions the SAFC has made to the State of South Australia; and
  3. Congratulates all those who have contributed to the fantastic array of films, television series and games that have been produced by the SAFC since 1972.

(Continued from 19 October 2022.)

The Hon. J.S. LEE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (17:11): I am pleased to rise today on behalf of the Liberal Party to speak to the motion to acknowledge 50 years of achievements of the South Australian Film Corporation.

The SA Film Corp is Australia's longest running state screen agency and provides production and development funding for screen productions.

It is a privilege to highlight the screen sector's impact in South Australia. We should all be very proud that South Australia's screen industries today include world-class film, television, post-production, digital and visual effects, and game development.

In a marketing brochure produced by SAFC recently, it was stated that 'screen production' is a specialised form of advanced manufacturing.

Let's put this in some context.

Research has found that 67 per cent of spending on screen production goes to businesses and suppliers in other sectors such as construction, travel, transport, hospitality, retail and professional services. The industry has many multiplier effects.

We are blessed in South Australia to have talented, wonderfully diverse people working in this industry. They are highly skilled and have won many, many awards.

My esteemed colleague, the Shadow Minister for the Arts, the Hon. John Gardner, has informed me that we have significantly grown our share of the national screen industry over the last four years, to the point that we now represent more than double our population share of the industry.

We hope that the momentum that was built by the former Liberal Government will be maintained by the new Labor Government, so that we can get even bigger and better.

Honourable Members, I am sure we all agree that we live in the most beautiful place in the world. South Australia has the most unique and captivating cinematic landscapes.

The SA Film Corp does a fantastic job in showcasing our most precious landscapes to the world, and they have a wonderful history of doing so.

The first film produced by the SA Film Corp was Sunday Too Far Away in 1975, starring the legendary Jack Thompson, and it was a smash hit winning awards and turning a great profit.

Other big hits have included much-loved Australian classics such as Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), Storm Boy (1976), Blue Fin (1979) and Breaker Morant (1980).

Other states then copied many of the aspects of the SA Film Corporation's work and in time the nature of that work changed too.

In the 1990s the SA Film Corp stopped making movies and TV shows in its own right and instead took on the role for government of providing assistance to the industry. It moved from Norwood to Hendon Studios before eventually, in 2011, moving to its current home in Glenside.

The global screen industry, including games, is valued at over $US580 billion. There is a huge opportunity for South Australia to attract a growing share of this investment to our state.

By supporting the industry we will be able to create highly-skilled, specialised and global jobs for South Australians, jobs that range from creative to administrative, technical to trades.

There are plenty of opportunities that we need to harness.

Screen production in South Australia attracts more than 90 per cent of its finance from sources outside the state, including the international market, Federal Government and private equity funds.

We must create a supportive environment to attract our fair share of investment. I am very proud to have been the Assistant Minister to the Premier during the term of the Marshall Liberal Government.

It was under the Marshall Liberal Government that South Australia achieved a screen production boom, with recent years delivering record levels of production in film, TV, visual effects and game development in our state.

In 2019-20, the South Australian screen sector contributed $187 million into the state's economy, and supported 2,297 full-time equivalent South Australian jobs.

We must acknowledge that this is an industry that has more than doubled in the last six years, from $77.2 million and 754 FTEs in 2013-14, to the current wonderful results that we have achieved.

It was a four-year period when the SA film Corporation had an incredible run of productions released, including Mortal Kombat which was easily the largest ever film made in South Australia by a long margin. 

Mortal Kombat was a great showcase, particularly of the South Australian talent on display in a wide range of areas related to the screen industry, including post-production and digital and visual effects. It is not all about the actors.

But this was not the only excellent release supported by the SA Film Corp between 2018 and 2022. I would also like to pay tribute to everyone included in the production of other phenomenal projects as well.

They include: Hotel Mumbai (2018); Storm Boy (2019); I am Mother (2019); Escape from Pretoria in 2020; 2067—a film made in 2020; Gold (2022); and The Stranger (2022). There were also TV series including Settlers (2020), Firebite (2021), First Day Season 2 (2022) and The Tourist (2022).

It has been a very prosperous period for our film industry, and the new government has a significant task ahead to maintain the pace for our state.

One project particularly close to the heart of our shadow minister for education and the arts, the Hon. John Gardner, that he has mentioned to me is the children's TV show Beep and Mort.

Beep and Mort began life as a stage production of Windmill Theatre.

It is a delightful children's story of inclusion. An arriving alien in a spaceship, called Beep, lands unexpectedly in the town of Mollyvale, where he meets a friendly character called Mort.

Mort helps Beep to settle into Mollyvale, and they have a series of fun adventures.

It is like welcoming all the multicultural communities into South Australia, and we all enjoy the diversity and enjoy those adventures together.

In a sign of the confidence that has developed in recent years in South Australia's screen industry, Windmill Theatre has recently started a new company called Windmill Pictures.

During the time of the Marshall Liberal Government they sought assistance from the Government, including the SA Film Corp, to develop Beep and Mort from a stage show to a TV series.

I am very pleased to say that this show was supported and was, indeed, picked up by the ABC. The first series of 20 episodes is now screening on ABC TV and streaming on ABC Kids.

The Hon. John Gardner tells me that his kids absolutely adore it and love it, and I believe many tens of thousands around Australia feel the same way.

Congratulations for producing and creating this particular series entirely in South Australia with a majority South Australian cast and crew.

This has been the first new TV show for children made here in South Australia for a long time and demonstrates the growth and confidence that was delivered by the former Marshall Liberal Government to this important sector.

Producing high-quality productions builds confidence in our industry and encourages non-government investment in our industry.

The development of content supported by the SA Film Corporation has built many careers and inspired countless others.

South Australian skilled and creative workers, passionate about telling South Australian stories, are good for all of us.

They collectively inspire us and help our economy. We must jointly recognise the significant social, cultural and economic contributions that SAFC makes to South Australia.

I thank the Hon. Reggie Martin MLC for moving this motion. On behalf of the Liberal Party, we convey our sincere congratulations to the South Australian Film Corporation on this milestone 50th anniversary.

May SAFC enjoy much success into the future. I commend the motion.