HUGH JACKMAN'S latest Wolverine film has created 1700 Australian jobs and benefited 850 companies.
The film, starring Jackman as Logan/Wolverine and shot on location across NSW and in Japan, is expected to be released next July and follows an improvement in Australian film and TV drama's fortunes, with the value of production rising 25 per cent in Australia last year.
The Arts Minister, Simon Crean, said The Wolverine, directed by James Mangold, and filmed not only in Sydney's Fox Studios but in NSW spots such as Oberon, Picton, Homebush and Parramatta, would generate more than $80 million in investment in Australia.
But there was industry consternation in April when the federal government announced the $12.8 million one-off investment in the film - the equivalent of a 30 per cent location offset, the tax rebate on the Australian spend of large-budget productions that do not satisfy the Australian content test for the producer offset.
The location offset rate such films normally receive is only 16.5 per cent. The $12.8 million was necessary to secure the film and job opportunities, Mr Crean said, most of which were full-time, although the figure included 600 movie extras.
Industry figures have called for a bigger location offset to be applied so that the film industry can get competitive in the face of a strong Australian dollar. Mr Crean is expected to take some broad proposals to federal cabinet's last meeting this year to help the film industry ahead of the anticipated release of the National Cultural Policy in the first quarter of next year.
He told Fairfax Media it would be a ''waste'' if the National Cultural Policy was not released until the federal election, although conceded it was a matter of gaining cabinet support for greater funding.
''I've made it clear we should be looking to increase the location offset,'' he said.
Mr Crean said The Wolverine job figures highlighted the importance of investing in the arts as a key contributor to local and national economic growth.
"To date, The Wolverine has created over 1700 jobs across Australia since production commenced earlier this year, bringing a significant boost to communities, the local economy and the film industry," he said.
"The Australian jobs created as a result of investment in The Wolverine cover the full spectrum of the production sector to the people behind the cameras and in studios - the set builders, lighting technicians, editors and special effects artists.
"About 850 Australian companies from industries including hospitality, transport and catering goods and service providers have gained contracts as a result of the production.''