Posted: 11:10 am on 24th May 2013

When it comes to tax rebates and government subsidies, the great American novel The Great Gatsby, is an Australian movie, according to a recent report in The Australian ($):

AUSTRALIA is the last major territory in the world to see The Great Gatsby. Yet it is ostensibly an Australian film, qualifying for the federal government’s producer offset where 40 per cent of qualifying Australian expenditure is paid for by the government. The total contribution to the $US190 million ($194m) film by Australian governments, when combined with state incentives, is reportedly $US80m-plus.

But don’t worry.  If you believe the NSW government, apparently the economic benefits will more than cover the cost of the movie.  In 2011, the Australian Financial Review reported that the economic benefits from The Great Gatsby would be of the order of $340m ($):

It is credited with injecting $340 million into the NSW economy and partially reversing the film-production drought. The NSW government has estimated the overall impact of the film, which commenced principle photography at Fox last week, at almost three times its $120 million budget.

Even if the reports of massive economic benefits are accurate (and we are not sure that they are) is this the best use of taxpayer money?

It strikes us that this is just a redistribution of wealth.  Firstly there is a transfer of wealth to the Hollywood stars earning mega-millions and secondly to the Australian film industry who can’t seem to attract these movies on merit.

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