With COVID absolutely decimating the arts industry, you’d think having a multi-award winning, international phenomena like Drag Race filming in Sydney would be a welcome saviour, but the NSW Liberals apparently don’t agree.

MP Rose Jackson brought up this very topic today in Parliament, asking the Minister for Arts, Don Harwin, why the NSW government didn’t do more to keep production here, effectively losing creative arts jobs to New Zealand when the location shifted last year.

“Screen NSW has a stellar record and I can only suggest to the producers of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under – who did not at any time approach Screen NSW or have any conversations with them – that it would have been a good idea, because we have done so much to help films go ahead over the last year,” replied Harwin.

Jackson absolutely destroyed him later on in a speech, saying, that the “shade being thrown at this missed opportunity for our great city is substantial.”

Although there are plenty of international films coming down under to shoot, local production is still hugely limited. Approximately 50% of people working in culture and the arts are considering leaving the industry, and to have the government turn their noses up at a massively popular show like Drag Race is disappointing. It’s also important to ensure that once it’s safe to film in the US, productions stay on in Australia, and one way to do that, according to Matthew Dean of Screen Producers Australia, is to embed streaming services right here.

“Allow me to assure the minister, they don’t need our money,” Jackson said. “It’s not a case of ‘they should have called us’; we should have been calling them… The NSW government didn’t even lift a finger to try and keep that production in Sydney… It’s sickening, and not in the good way.”

Jackson finished with a one-liner to rival Ru himself: “the minister should sashay away and make sure it never happens again.”

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