Western Australia could develop as a key player in the nation's film industry under an initiative introduced into State Parliament today.
Racing and Gaming Minister Pam Beggs said the initiative centred on establishing a special fund under the auspices of the Lotteries Commission to provide financial incentives for films to be made in Western Australia.
The fund would comprise part of the unclaimed lottery and lotto prizes that now amounted to around $6 million a year.
Mrs Beggs said that under the existing Act, unclaimed money could only be used for additional or promotional prizes.
"The Lotteries Commission believes it is more appropriate that these funds should be used by the Commission as part of its crucial role in benefiting the community," Mrs Beggs said during the second reading of the Lotteries Commission Amendment Bill (1992).
The Bill also includes the film industry and the Festival of Perth as two areas eligible for Lotteries Commission funding.
"The commercial film industry is one which, until now, has not been exploited for its potential contribution to the State's economy," Mrs Beggs said.
"Lotteries Commission funding will give incentives for local, national and international producers to make their film in Western Australia."
Mrs Beggs said the benefits of a vibrant film industry would be felt throughout the State, especially in the more remote areas that appealed for their distinct environment and location.
A bigger Western Australian film industry also would serve as a tourism promotion as films made here would be seen throughout Australia and overseas.
Mrs Beggs said the initiative also would create employment and training opportunities at the highest level for film industry workers.
The Lotteries Commission would be responsible for determining the level of funding but it was expected to be about $2 million a year.
Mrs Beggs said the Festival of Perth, that also would become eligible for Commission funding, generated several million dollars of expenditure in terms of audience support and job creation.
"It also has great potential in terms of cultural tourism to attract visitors from interstate, South East Asia and other parts of the Indian Ocean rim," she said.
Mrs Beggs said the use of unclaimed prizes for incentives such as commercial film production and the Festival of Perth would not lessen the allocation of funds to the traditional recipients of Lotteries Commission grants.
The Bill also clarified the definition of organisations eligible to receive funds from the Lotteries Commission.
The new definition still excluded all organisations that could be seen as part of Government.