Quay studio still afloat?

FREMANTLE might still be in the running for a state-funded film studio on Victoria Quay.

While announcing a pre-budget $20.5m package to make Victoria Quay more enticing to visitors on Wednesday, planning minister Rita Saffioti seemed to step back from premier Mark McGowan’s gloomy outlook in February when he announced the site had a “range of problems”.

At Wednesday’s announcement Mr McGowan said up to $7 million of the funding would go towards looking at whether the roll-on, roll-off vehicle and livestock shipping operations could be moved from Victoria Quay across the harbour to North Mole.

When the Herald pointed out these had been the biggest stumbling blocks to the film studio project and whether that meant the Freo bid was live again, Ms Saffioti didn’t shoot it down.  

“The location of the film studio is under review,” she said.

When another media outlet picked up the theme and pressed her on whether she thought the studio would end up in Freo, she again referred to the review.

A $105m world-class film studio was an election promise by the McGowan Government aimed at trying to entice big players like Netflix to start producing content and boost WA’s film industry. 

Mr McGowan said the $20m funding could help Victoria Quay to “become one of Western Australia’s best entertainment, tourism and cultural precincts”. 

Moving cars and sheep could “open up and activate this waterfront precinct”, he said, with plans for the dock area to be made more available for the arrival of cruise ships.

Rusting

The rusting HMAS Ovens and a couple of historic cranes behind the WA Maritime Museum will get an $3.5m overhaul, while $7.5m will go towards improving the quay’s connection to the CBD. 

The Herald contacted Hesperia, which won the bid to build the studio, but a spokesperson said they were unable to comment because of the rules regarding market-led proposals. 

Another $2.5m will go to the Future of Fremantle committee to continue its work towards a vision for the harbour once container traffic moves south to Kwinana.

Thursday’s budget also included a few other initiatives for Freo and surrounds, some already announced.

They included: 

$7.6m to plan the police station on South Terrace before the $70m construction starts next year;

$25m for the 

East Fremantle Oval redevelopment;

$12.6m for Fremantle Prison conservation;

$600,000 to upgrade the Fremantle City Football Club so its women players 

by GRACE PRENDERGAST and STEVE GRANT

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