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January 21, 2022

Cumulus VFX moving to Ballina with $1m government boost

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Newly minted NSW Arts Minister Ben Franklin, Ballina Mayor Sharon Cadwallader, and Will Gammon from Cumulus VFX. Photo David Lowe.

The visual effects house Cumulus is expanding and moving from Byron Bay to new premises beside the river in Ballina, with an additional fifty jobs predicted and $1m additional state funding.

The announcement was made by newly appointed NSW Arts Minister Ben Franklin and newly elected Ballina Mayor Sharon Cadwallader, together with Cumulus founding owner Will Gammon.

MLC Ben Franklin said, ‘This is an incredibly exciting day for a range of reasons… This is my first official function since I was called by the Premier last night to take on the role of Minister for the Arts, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Minister for Regional Youth.

Ballina Mayor Sharon Cadwallader with Will Gammon and NSW MLC Ben Franklin. Photo David Lowe.

‘And I’m so excited to be here with Will Gammon, an extraordinary community leader and someone who has contributed so much to the cultural life of our region.

‘In making this announcement today, I’m also absolutely delighted to be here with my very good friend, Councillor Sharon Cadwallader, who is now her Worship the Mayor Sharon Cadwallader. Sharon and I have worked together for so many years, and it’s just such a privilege and a pleasure to be standing with you today in both of our first official functions.

‘Sharon, I know you’re going to be extraordinary for the Shire, you’re going to do great things. And I can’t wait to do that with you by your side.’

Regional jobs creation fund

Mr Franklin said, ‘We wanted to make sure that we provided the impetus for businesses to employ local people, to keep locals on the ground. Obviously from my perspective, to do that in cultural and creative industries would be amazing.

Cumulus VFX’s Will Gammon. Photo David Lowe.

‘So when a proposal came from Will Gammon to move Cumulus VFX from Byron Bay to Ballina, and at the same time increasing the number of jobs from 25 jobs to 75… that was too good an opportunity to refuse, and so the government is therefore committing a million dollars, to supporting this amazing project.’

Speaking about Will Gammon and his wife Anouska, ‘an incredible creative leader in her own right’, Mr Franklin said, ‘This is what we want in our regions, we want people who are passionate about their community. But they’re not only leaders in the community, they’re not only leaders at a state level, we’ve got people here who are leaders at a national level of our cultural and creative ideas, who have done extraordinary work in films across the globe.’

Ballina’s new mayor Sharon Cadwallader. Photo David Lowe.

Mayor Sharon Cadwallader followed, saying it was a delight to be at her first official function. ‘To be able to create fifty jobs here in Ballina is really something that we want more of…

‘Creative industries is where we’re going to take this shire. We are going to really make this the gateway of the Northern Rivers, the business hub here,’ she said.

Welcome boost

Will Gammon from Cumulus VFX thanked the minister and mayor warmly for their support over the years. ‘It’s a very hard sort of industry to make headway,’ he said, ‘especially in a regional area where the industry doesn’t really exist at the moment.

Will Gammon, Mayor Sharon Cadwallader and Ben Franklin MLC. Photo David Lowe.

‘To get this sort of support from the government and give us the opportunity to give jobs to the youth and the creative industries is just a huge thing that we’ve been striving for years to create, from what started in my garage and now to this amazing property in Ballina on the beautiful riverfront.

‘This is such a proud moment in the evolution of our company, and I’m very excited to see how the industry will grow in the region… I’ve got a million people to thank, including my family, my wife and my kids, and the Cumulus staff,’ said Mr Gammon.

Cumulus VFX family and staff celebrate at yesterday’s announcement in Ballina. Photo David Lowe.

‘I’m looking forward to seeing where we go to next.’

Ballina expansion

Will Gammon told The Echo that the new Ballina space at the Reside Complex was in the midst of a major fit-out. ‘We’ve got the bottom level with these two offices here, which is 310 square meters, and obviously looking straight onto the river and with the yard out here, it’s a bit of respite from the computer screens.

‘It’s going to be a great opportunity for the creatives to have a beautiful environment to be creative in.’

While Ballina will be the new centre for Cumulus post-production and VFX work, Alstonville will remain the location for Will Gammon’s other screen business, Byron Studios.

Mayor Sharon Cadwallader with Will Gammon. Photo David Lowe.

Sharon Cadwallader and Ben Franklin both said they hoped more high tech creative enterprises would be attracted to Ballina.

Mr Franklin said it was a very exciting time. ‘I’m incredibly passionate about the arts and culture and I just can’t wait to be able to influence and to effect change across the whole state in that space,’ he said.

‘We live in the best part of the world and to be able to highlight the Northern Rivers to the rest of the state and the rest of the nation, that’s something I’m really, really looking forward to.’

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  1. Comulitive government money rolls in for Cumulus VFX’s move to Ballina under a cloudless sky.
    Clear air has paved the way at a presentation by NSW Arts Minister Ben Franklin in the presence of new Ballina Mayor Sharon Cadwallader and Will Gammon of Cumulus VFX . The winds of change are stating to shift to the progress of Ballina into a thriving busy place of business. All systems are go.

  2. Gawd, Emily are you a paid Nationals PR gal? I’m sorry to be so cynical, but really all I see is money being splashed around to buy votes in a marginal electorate. Sad thing is, people are suckers for this money splash. So, do we get the government we deserve, if we’re so easily bought? Aiming it at ‘youth’ and ‘arts’ is so strategic and see-through – same with Kevin Hogan’s recent cash splash to women’s emergency housing service in Lismore. If only it was from genuine care, but it’s clearly not.

  3. A few questions regarding this:
    1/. In the article you have mentioned Mr Will Gammon as well as a Mr Ben Gammon, but looking at the pictures they seem to be the same person?
    2/. Predicted and actual are two entirely different things..so the predicted 50 extra jobs is just that, a prediction..so the actual result could be 10, 15 or maybe no new jobs.
    3/. Ben Franklin is not our state member..why wasn’t our elected member there, this is yet another public announcement where our own publicly elected member was not invited?
    4/. $1 million for a business to relocate paid for by the State government on a “prediction”..with yet no actual permanent employment figures or business case shown to back up this funding….bit of pre election “Pork Barrelling” going on?
    One or two other Northern Rivers businesses would not mind the type of state government financial help.
    5/. Quote Ben Franklin “I’m also absolutely delighted to be here with my very good friend, Councillor Sharon Cadwallader, who is now her Worship the Mayor Sharon Cadwallader. Sharon and I have worked together for so many years”
    Let’s be bloody frank about this…
    Sharon Cadwallader was not elected to be a stooge for the State Liberal Party and if this is the case that is starting to occur, then the people of Ballina LGA have been conned.

      • It goes to show what a marginal seat can do for a community.
        This was a rusted on Nats seat for over 30 years and nothing really got done.
        Now it is a state marginal seat plus a narrow fed seat over the last 10 years…both political parties have announced an delivered new projects for example..new schools, hospital renovations, new life saving club rooms, pacific highway and Alstonville bypass.. pitty we don’t have rail carparks for them to spend money on
        Oh, that’s right..we don’t have a train..wonder if Franklin or Hogan want to step up to the plate on that project?
        Then again that has something to do with foresight and vision..something that is lacking with those two blokes.

  4. It’s a shame that in decisions like this Ben Franklin continues to show no grace and include local members in these announcements. A party staffer with no real world experience who has made the most funding or pork barrelling announcements bypassing local members in the state.. puts a bad taste on worthwhile funding decisions like this.

  5. I smell PORK.I thought the Franklin bloke was just a wanna-be who hung around the opening of everything like a stale fart taking credit when it is not due, somewhat like Kevin Hogan; but MINISTER FOR THE ARTS etc etc! The PORK might just keep coming until the next state election.

  6. So the state government are venture capitalists now (but without the return). Wonder what requirements were placed on reporting the outcomes of job creation. Seems like a question a journalist might ask.
    When the profits start rolling in will gammon the great repay taxpayers?
    Cup your hands and wait for the trickle peasants.

  7. Quite right. Sharon missed out on pre-selection to Mr. Beavis by just a few votes. Never mind, once a Nat always a Nat and it is pretty obvious from Ben Franklins ebullient praise of Mayor Cadwallader that the Mayor has a serious allegiance to the Nationals. So much for the Independent tag line.

    Seems to me that the pork is once again about to flow. More so now no doubt with the Hon. Ben Franklin MLC now having a very close ally in Ballina.

    I wonder if the limit on the height of buildings in the shire will remain where it is at present or shoot up to the sky when the developers come knocking.

    • In upper house, lost last state election in ballina then parachuted back into upper house. World experience zero, pork barrelling experience best in state, rudeness by ignoring local members extreme.

    • Executive Director of the Nats from 2008 to 2015 when he headed up the Nats Upper House ticket in 2015. Franklin was living in Kirribilli at the time of his election as an MLC. Prior to all of this he was very much a Liberal.

  8. So public money going to private business when so many not for profit community groups and artists are struggling to survive. I guess we knew we would find out soon enough what the mayoral election was paying for. Pork sausages anyone?


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