Pirates nab $22 million to spend in region

Pirates of the Caribbean are sailing to our shores but not everyone is welcoming their arrival.

Pirates of the Caribbean are sailing to our shores but not everyone is welcoming their arrival.

Chris Dobney

Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has plundered a treasure chest of nearly 22 million taxpayer dollars set to lure their production to nearby shores, leading some to claim we have been swindled.

While lovers of the sword-and-swagger series may think it’s money well spent if they can spot the likes of Johnny Depp on the Gold Coast, rural doctors are asking whether the cash wouldn’t have delivered better results if spent on people’s health.

The good doctors say less than that amount would go a long way in attracting junior doctors to rural medical practice.

Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) president Dr Ian Kamerman said the group been asking the federal government for the continuation of a highly successful general practice placement program that attracted many young doctors into rural practice, only for them to say there isn’t enough money to fund it.

‘I enjoy Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean as much as the next person, but it is ridiculous to spend that sort of money to attract the production of a movie with one hand, while pulling money out of the health system with the other,’ Dr Kamerman said.

‘We were very disappointed to find that the Prevocational General Practice Placement Program had been scrapped in the federal health budget without prior consultation, and have been vocal in our requests for its reinstatement – but with no success to date,’ he added.

‘It is unfortunate to find that attracting doctors to the bush rates behind Dead Men Tell No Tales when it comes to funding decisions,’ Dr Kamerman said.

Screenworks support

But, perhaps surprisingly, local film industry support group Screenworks has thrown its weight behind the move, saying much of the anticipated $100 million flow on creating 3,000 jobs could provide employment for northern rivers-based film workers.

Screenworks GM Ken Crouch said the group is looking to see what work will be available for its members.

‘It’s a great opportunity for screen workers in the region because a lot of people do travel to the Gold Coast to work. Whenever there is a major production there they have to draw a lot of crew from our region,’ he told ABC radio news.

But is it art?

The fifth instalment of the hugely popular series is set to become Australia’s largest ever feature film after funding was approved by Arts Minister Ian Walker.

Mr Walker said pre-production had already started on the Gold Coast and production would begin in February before moving to north Queensland.

Screen Queensland’s Tracey Vieira said they faced stiff competition from state rivals and Mexico before securing the deal with The Walt Disney Studios.

‘We are thrilled to see Pirates 5 sail into Queensland,’ she said in a statement.

Mr Walker was hopeful Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales would act as a rolling advertisement of the state’s capable cast, crew and facilities for future blockbusters.

‘It is one of those industries in which success breeds success.’

The full cast is yet to be announced but Johnny Depp is expected to cast his anchor in the Sunshine State at some stage before the film’s release in July 2017.

– with AAP

4 responses to “Pirates nab $22 million to spend in region”

  1. Pardon my ignorance but shouldn’t Disney be paying us to film in a beautiful and unique part of paradise?

    What other pacific location would provide them with their production needs in an easily accessable location, economically, politically and geologically stable with advanced technical crew and top shelf facilities for digital media? There is always New Zealand but for a pirate theme it may prove a little too far south and Mexico, although a beautiful Central American location, can prove to be a political Hot Spot. If Disney feel they are above paying for our services I am sure our local film producers could create something equally as marketable for a 22 million dollar investment.

  2. Terri Bradley says:

    I believe it will offer many jobs to locals & bring money to the area which must surely help the budget.
    Who do I see about an extra part?

  3. Roland Vetter says:

    Why can’t this be a good news story? Getting a movie that will spend well over $ 200 million in this region and create a lot of economic activity and jobs right here. I will most likely work on this and a lot of other Northern Rivers locals will too.
    As someone who has been in this industry for some time I know that the reality is, that you have to give some incentives, as there are a lot of other places competing for this kind of project, and our beautiful shores aren’t the only ones with a few palm trees and a pool.
    To connect this with the state of our health system is mind boggling. To get this kind of investment for $ 22 million looks like a good deal to me, especially when it is being spent on our doorstep. So to get this bagged by the local paper makes me wonder.
    If you want to discuss health funding, why not start with middle class welfare and negative gearing which feeds our beautiful local property bubble and makes us all feel warm and cozy ?

  4. Josephine says:

    Whilst tens of thousands struggle to even eat in Australia the Federal Government liberally hands over $20 million dollars to a company that is scamming billions in tax dodges in Luxembourg…whilst Abbott slugs the disabled, pensioners and the low paid workers for every cent they can hand over – Disney pockets their change…

    New Leak Reveals Luxembourg Tax Deals for Disney, – Latest “Lux Leaks” files obtained by ICIJ disclose secret tax structures sought by “Big 4” accounting giants for brand name international companies

    A new leak of confidential documents expands the list of big companies seeking secret tax deals in Luxembourg, exposing tax-saving maneuvers by American entertainment icon The Walt Disney Co., politically controversial Koch Industries Inc. and 33 other companies.

    Disney and Koch Industries, a U.S.-based energy and chemical conglomerate, both created tangles of interlocking corporations in Luxembourg that may have helped them slash the taxes they pay in the U.S. and Europe, according to the documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

    Widespread corporate use of tax maneuvers akin to these, in tax shelters the world over, are estimated to cost the U.S. treasury billions annually. They increase profits and benefit shareholders at the expense of the companies’ home countries and other places where they do significant business.

    ICIJ obtained the Disney and Koch tax documents as part of a trove of information that details big companies’ complex financial maneuvers through subsidiaries in Luxembourg. ICIJ received these documents last month, soon after publishing an earlier set of leaked documents detailing the Luxembourg tax deals negotiated by FedEx, Pepsi, IKEA and 340 other globe-spanning companies.


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