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NSW ‘will consider proposal’

Saturday, 2nd November, 2013

Funding could be used on the film studio which needs a power upgrade.PICTURE: Darrin Manuel Funding could be used on the film studio which needs a power upgrade.PICTURE: Darrin Manuel

By By Erica Visser

The NSW Government will consider diverting $1 million funding from the canned heavy vehicle bypass to another project if City Council presents it with a detailed plan.

MP John Williams told the BDT yesterday that he had approached the relevant minister to explain that Council had abandoned plans for the haul road, for which the State had pledged the funding.

Council’s General Manager, Therese Manns, will negotiate with the Government to try to keep the money in Broken Hill.

The Eyre Street Film Studios, which were this week described by a councillor as a “dead loss”, and the road up to the Line of Lode, Federation Way, have been nominated by Council as worthwhile projects.

The race is on for Council to fix up the Studios, which still need $4 million worth of work, if it wants to cash in on next year’s film-making bonanza.

Two major films are to be shot in the city and Council will lobby for producers to use the studios.

If Council could get the funding it would upgrade the power supply at the Studios, which has reached maximum capacity already with just small businesses using the space.

Mr Williams said that he knew the Studios needed substantial work, but did not know that electricity was a problem at the former mines’ power station.

“I knew that funding was needed but I thought that the power supply was adequate. Holy Moses!,” he said.

“I can only say that the problem I face is that...the (Minister for Regional Infrastructure Andrew Stoner) hasn’t said no, but they want a fully-costed project to consider before diverting the money.

“The Studios need a lot more than $1 million.”

The push for funds for Federation Way has come under recent attack, as Mayor Wincen Cuy’s business operates the restaurant on top of the Line of Lode, but Mr Williams said that it was “a tourist attraction, regardless.”

“I’d like to push for funding for Federation Way. I know there’s been some criticism, but despite that, we’re putting tourists up there and it’s in a dangerous and poor condition,” he said.

He estimated that the road would need about $350,000 worth of work to bring it to an acceptable condition.

Councillor Jim Richards told the BDT that funding for the Studios could help convince the directors of feature films “Strangerland” and “Last Cab to Darwin” to shoot on site next year.

“Whether or not Council gets the funding, though, really depends on how good the General Manager is at negotiating,” he said.

Council’s Manager of Economic Development, Andrea Roberts, told the BDT that the Film Broken Hill office would encourage the directors to use the Studios- even if just as a storage space.

Ms Roberts said that an acceptable power supply would be beneficial but not entirely necessary.

“Generally productions will bring power in. For film making it’s not a necessity but it definitely adds to the expenses.

“We’re talking about a 2.5 hectare precinct. We’re limited definitely by the power that’s there even with the people who are renting out there now.”

In the meantime, Mr Williams said that the next move was up to the Government.

“All I can say is that the ball is in their court,” he said.

“They didn’t say no, so I guess that’s a good sign.”

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