The former Bunnings on the outskirts of the Cairns CBD will be transformed into a multimillion-dollar film and television studio, the state government has revealed today.
The announcement settles months of speculation as to how the 6500sq m site would be used, after acting as a pop-up arena for the Taipans 2020/21 NBL season.
Construction is set to start early next year on the new $6.8 million Screen Queensland production facility.
It’s expected to be operational by mid-2022.
Once completed, the site on the corner of Spence and Fearnley Streets will house a sound stage, production offices, wardrobes and hair and makeup departments, as well as an event space.
Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt, who has been pushing for a new film and television studio in the Far North for several years, has welcomed the announcement.
“Four years ago I put forward a plan to see a film studio built in Cairns and while several locations were considered, we’re going with the original idea,” he said.
“After months of planning, stakeholder roundtables and industry consultation, led by Screen Queensland and working with CQ University, I am pleased to announce that a site has been chosen.
“This studio is ideally located five minutes from the CBD, 13 minutes from the airport and with excellent access to the southern corridor highway.
“The construction of this state-of-the-art facility will provide much-needed infrastructure to cater to the creative and logistical needs of local and visiting productions.
“It will also include an educational component which is about helping to create the next generation of screen practitioners – whether they be writers and producers, or carpenters for set building and electricians for lighting.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state’s seen a surge in screen productions due to Queensland’s strong health response.
“Locally-made, interstate and international productions are big business for Queensland and right now our screen industry is thriving,” she said.
“In the last 18 months we’ve had a record number of projects being filmed in Queensland or wanting to film here, generating millions for our state economy and requiring a workforce of thousands.
“The pipeline of productions is critical for our economic recovery having kept Queenslanders in jobs throughout one of the most challenging times in our history.”
Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich said Screen Queensland has a proud history of not only attracted productions to Far North Queensland, but developing local talent and screen businesses.
“Recent productions for the region include the Queensland-made hit movie This Little Love of Mine, which rated number one on Netflix in the UK,” she said.
“Network Ten series Dive Club [is another], which filmed in Port Douglas and [was] released to international audiences on Netflix recently.
“The Far North is home to expert local screen businesses such as Lone Star Productions, the team behind the NITV and SBS food and travel program Strait to the Plate, and cinematographers BioPixel and BioQuest who worked on David Attenborough’s Life In Colour.
“Currently in production at Mission Beach in FNQ is Screen Queensland-supported Irreverent – Matchbox Pictures’ drama series for Universal Studios Group about a criminal who poses as the new church reverend in a small reef town.”
- Screen Queensland will build a new $6.8 million film and TV studio in Cairns
- The new facility will be housed in the former Bunnings warehouse site in Portsmith
- The redevelopment is funded by the Queensland Government