Government cuts red tape for Victoriaâ€™s $1.4 billion screen industry
Victoria will have a new legal framework for commercial filming on public land managed by local councils and state government agencies after legislation designed to cut red tape for the state’s $1.4 billion screen industry was passed today by the Victorian Parliament.
Innovation Minister Louise Asher said that the Filming Approval Bill 2014 showed that the Napthine Government was determined to encourage greater Australian and international screen production investment in Victoria.
“These changes create a consistent, prompt, transparent and responsive approval process for screen practitioners operating in Victoria, reinforcing our reputation as a leading centre for screen business in the Asia Pacific region,” Ms Asher said.
The Act introduces eight film friendly principles which will provide that public agencies must:
1) not unreasonably withhold approval, subject to appropriate operational, public amenity, safety and security or environmental/heritage arrangements;
2) approve or refuse permits in a timely manner and take reasonable steps to respond to an applicant within 5 business days;
3) set out any reasons for refusing a filming permit;
4) take reasonable steps to provide a single point of contact for filmmakers;
5) ensure that any application forms or other documents are consistent with a standard approved by Film Victoria;
6) consider the broader economic benefits that commercial filming will bring to the community when setting fees for filming permits and ensure fees charged do not exceed cost recovery;
7) provide clear information about how a person may apply for a filming permit; and
8) take reasonable steps to ensure that film permitting officers are given appropriate information about the film and television industries.
The Act will harmonise what are currently widely differing permit approval policies, processes, timeframes, fees and documentation across Victoria’s local councils and government entities.
“The screen industry is highly competitive, deadline driven and cost sensitive. The ease of doing business is a key consideration for a footloose production finalising its project location,” Ms Asher said.
“These principles are backed by legislation to ensure that key public entities across Victoria will apply the same process when assessing a film application and facilitate filming on public land, subject to public amenity, safety and security and heritage, environment and operational requirements.”
Public agencies, including local councils, will need to comply with the Act from 1 March 2015. Film Victoria, the state screen agency, is working with public agencies and councils to develop resources to help frontline staff understand and apply the new principles.