Parks Victoria … Makes Me Despair

Late on Friday afternoon, November 5th, I got an email from Sasha Sarago, the Indigenous Tourism Officer for Parks Victoria, telling me the following:

PHOTOGRAPHY IN NATIONAL PARKS

Since June this year Parks Victoria has conducted an independent review of its Annual Landscape Photography Licence System. The review is now complete and we confirm that Parks Victoria will continue to issue its Annual Landscape Photography permits to photographers that require access to Parks Victoria managed areas for commercial purposes.

The review confirmed that under the National Parks Act (1975) a permit must be issued for any commercial activity undertaken within any park scheduled under the Act. This includes the activities of individuals or groups conducting photography for commercial publications.

A permit is required to ensure that photography activities are directed to the most suitable places and to minimise potential conflict with other licensees and with the experiences of other park visitors. A permit also ensures that activities are carried out with the appropriate risk management procedures and insurance cover, as deemed by the Victorian Government.

The Commercial Filming and Photography Policy has been in place for over 10 years. In 2001 Parks Victoria reviewed the policy and the process for allocating commercial filming and photography permits to ensure permits are allocated in a fair and equitable manner. This review was done in consultation with the Melbourne Film Office, Australian Institute of Professional Photographers and Australian Commercial and Magazine Photographers. The Parks Victoria Commercial Filming and Photography Permit process is recognised by these groups as industry best practice.

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Would any of my blog followers like to comment on this before I fire back at Parks Victoria the “serve” that they well and truly need?

Posted in Australia, National Parks, Photography | 11 Comments

Twenty Five Years Since Handback at Uluru

This past week has seen the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Handback of what was then the Uluru (Ayers Rock

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Freedom of Expression? It’s Just a Load of Blether!

There was a very interesting article published in today’s edition of The Age newspaper. You can find the article online here … http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/photography-bans-leave-ordinary-life-out-of-the-picture-20101017-16p0v.html

Penned by senior writer, Geoff Strong, the article exposed the ongoing “war against photography” that is being mounted in places such as Kakadu, Uluru and at various Sydney landmarks. And as the article also mentioned, by a crank ranger at Victoria’s Point Nepean National Park who about a year ago ordered a DSLR-toting visitor to leave the Cape Schanck area because the photographer had a camera which looked vaguely professional and professional photography just wasn’t allowed in the park without a permit.

The article allowed online comments and most of them were from people who took the view that permits for “professional” photographers were a complete overstepping of the mark by the Victorian government, or in particular, by Parks Victoria. I say most of the online comments took that view – of course there were a couple of trolls who seemed to think that “freedom of expression” was a concept worth discarding.

One of these trolls was someone who called herself, “Click Click”. According to “Click Click”, she was one of many, many photographers who had sold images of national parks for profit. And on that basis she didn’t think it was unreasonable at all that Parks Victoria had a permit system for professional photographers.

“Parks Victoria are land managers who look after land that belongs to the public, to us all. So is it really fair that someone can come on to public land, pay nothing and make a profit? No.”

But why not, Click Click? After all, if it is public land that belongs to all of us, then it equally belongs to the photographers as well. You might find this strange, Click Click but I don’t levy a fee on myself for taking photographs in my own house (or expect the government to impose one on me either), so why should it apply when I visit a national park in Victoria?

Fortunately, other people who left comments at The Age web page, did take Click Click and the smattering of other apologists for Parks Victoria to task. Tom from Sydney, noted that “Australians should be truly frightened at these ‘nanny state’ control freaks.” While Marcosss from Melbourne made the point that this mindless policy of Parks Victoria deserved nothing less than contempt.

“The only way that these laws can be overturned is by them being constantly challenged. If you are a serious artist or enthusiast you ignore the calls to not take the photograph and insist that they call in the police. The police seldom attend as they are way to busy fighting real crime. I have challenged these would be Nazis in the past and managed to get my shots and walk away. I will continue to do so until asked not to by the police and then I will take it to court. I implore all photographers to do the same. We are being treated like children by an authoritarian bureaucracy hell bent on making us all compliant, insipid drones. Not for me, I refuse to give up my basic rights for the sake of pointless policy.”

However Click Click was having nothing none of this. When it was pointed out to her that Victoria had the equivalent of a Bill of Rights (the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities from 2006) and that this guaranteed freedom of expression, she swung back into action revealing her true colours as a control freak.

“Your entries clearly demonstrate the ‘it’s my right and I’ll do what I want’ mentality that a lot of professional photographers unfortunately have. So all that blether about freedom of expression, human rights etc. etc. is just that, blether.”

Actually, the word is blather, not blether but the notion that people should lose their individual rights when they step inside a national park – which is what Click Click was supporting – is truly retrograde in the extreme. It’s so 1984! Mind you, Click Click was probably the sort of person who when she was at school made sure that the teacher knew that some people in the class hadn’t handed their homework in on time.

What’s the word that springs to mind when I think of people like her? “Tittle tat” I think.

Posted in Australia, Censorship, National Parks, Photography | 3 Comments

Intense Paranoia Rules at Uluru

Posted in Australia, National Parks, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park | 2 Comments

Some Kind of Reply from Waverley Council

On Wednesday, September 29th I finally received a “lengthy” response from the one and only Danielle Lee-Ryder, Media/Executive Assistant to the Mayor of Waverley Council. This response was to a set of questions that I had sent to her on September 17th. These questions – which sought further clarification on the matter of still photography within the Waverley Council LGA – were as follows:

Hello Danielle – I have received your email of September 16th but you have still not given me an answer to several of the questions that I put to Waverley Council on Tuesday.   These questions are:  

Question One

Waverley Council has produced a document titled “Commercial Filming and Photography in and of Public Open Spaces in Waverley”. This document can be accessed at http://tinyurl.com/2w8f68v

According to this document, you need a permit … ‘If you want to capture aerial images of Waverley for commercial purposes from aircraft flying over the area’ and … ‘If you want to use an image of the Waverley area for a commercial purpose (for example you may be a picture editor, a commercial film library or tour operator).’

My question therefore is this: On what basis can Waverley Council insist on permits in either of these situations? What legal right do you have to ask for such permits? (In your response of September 13th you claimed: “Many commercial products and events seek to align their product with the Bondi brand. It is in the interest of all parties to protect and maintain its iconic status and image.” However this does not answer the question that I put to Waverley Council and further, I can see nothing in the Local Government Act 1993 which would give Waverley Council any such powers which are claimed in the document that I have cited.)

Question Two:

You noted in your response of September 13th that, “Waverley Council receives thousands of applications each year for photography and filming.”

My question is this, how many photographic applications did Waverley Council receive in the past year (financial year 2009-2010, or calendar year 2009) and how many were approved?

Question Three:

On Page Four of the Local Government Filming Protocol 2009, the Minister for Local Government notes the following: “Fees and charges related to location filming activity are, at a maximum, to be cost reflective.”

My question is this. In what way can the Waverley Council charges for still photography ($150 application fee and $75 per hour for low impact) be said to be “cost reflective”, when a low impact photographer incurs no cost to council apart from your own self-imposed cost of processing an application?

Further, aren’t “commercial” photographers entitled to feel that they are being unfairly treated by Waverley Council when you impose a cost upon them of an application fee of $150 plus $75 per hour for both low and medium impact photography (thus making a one-day shoot of eight hours a very costly exercise at $750) when a personal fitness trainer can make use of Waverley Council’s public open spaces throughout the entire year for as little as $700?

Question Four: (new question)

What is Waverley Council’s definition of “commercial photography”? Does your definition of commercial photography only apply to commissioned photography or does it also apply to speculative photography where a photographer does imagery which may in the future provide them with a “reward” (i.e. payment)?

Question Five: (new question)

You noted in your email of September 13th that, “We (Waverley Council) are well within our right to charge a fee as do many other organisations and Councils.”

You also noted in that email the fee structure that Waverley Council applies to low and medium impact photography – which obviously does not require street closures, set construction or additional parking – as being $75 per hour plus an application fee of $150.

Given that Waverley Council requires approval for and applies fees to small-scale “commercial photography”, what does your council actually think was meant by the paragraph that I have previously highlighted on Page 8 of the Local Government Filming Protocol 2009?  This paragraph being:

“This Protocol does not cover stills photography – the Filming Related Legislation Amendment Act 2008 and the Local Government Act 1993 specifically exclude still photography, and it does not require council approval or attract council fees unless it involves additional activity such as blocking streets, constructing a set or additional parking. In these cases, the Protocol can provide guidance for councils in processing high impact stills shoots. Those contemplating still photography should approach councils for further information.”

Forgive me for my persistence on this matter but when I have shown that section of the Local Government Filming Protocol 2009 to “ordinary mortals” the clear majority of them have concluded that local councils do not have a right to charge fees or require approval from what you would describe as low or medium impact photography.

I look forward to your considered response.

Thanking you,

Ross Barnett

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The response I have got from Danielle Lee-Ryder is as follows:

Hi Ross

Thank you for your questions relating to fees and charges for commercial still photography.  I wanted to ensure all your concerns were fully reviewed by the appropriate officers before finalising your enquiries, so I appreciate your patience.

Council sets its fees and charges each year as part of development of its Operational Plan for the following financial year. Preparations for this begin at the start of each calendar year and recommendations are included in the draft plan placed on public exhibition in April / May.  Final recommendations, taking account of any public feedback, are then put to Council for resolution in June. This process provides a regular opportunity to review various policy implications relating to fees and charges, including any for commercial still photographers. Of course, Council welcomes suggestions on policy matters at any time and these should be submitted in writing to the General Manager or Mayor accordingly.

The filming protocol released by the Division of Local Government (NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet) carries the weight of law. However, this protocol deals exclusively with filming and not still photography. It does not place any prohibitions on local government authorities around the setting of fees and charges in relation to use of community facilities for commercial photography.

The document you have seen entitled ‘Commercial Filming and Photography in and of Public Open Spaces in Waverley’ is useful as a discussion paper. Its current status is that of a working document and it has not been endorsed as formal operating policy.

In relation to the figures of how many applications we receive – “thousands of applications” was intended as a figure of speech. It is indisputable that Bondi Beach is widely seen as a high demand location. For example, in the State Government’s media release dated 22 September 2009 announcing the revised filming protocol, Bondi was cited as an example of a “hot spot” or frequent filming site. Our permit and fee system covers a range of activities including commercial photography, filming, personal training activities, promotions and various other events. In the last financial year 67 permits were granted in relation to photography around beach areas and 12 were granted for local parks. There were no applications in relation to photography in Waverley Cemetery in the same period.

Council acknowledges that many photographers use locations in the Waverley area without seeking permits, and recognises that most of them do not alienate the amenity of areas set aside for the community at large.

Regards
Danielle

Danielle Lee-Ryder
Media/Executive Assistant to Mayor
Waverley Council
Ph: 9369 8126
Fax: 9369 8065
Mob: 0416 075 532

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Notice how in Lee-Ryder’s response that by and large, answers are NOT provided to my direct questions. Instead she has given me back what might best be described as a rambling piece of spin.  This “habit” of not replying to many of my direct questions is sadly, something that I have got used to from other functionaries as I have been researching my story for A********* P********** magazine during the past few months.

Posted in Australia, Censorship, Photography | 13 Comments

I Want to Become A Victorian

This evening (September 21st) I have received a very interesting email from Bill Rowlings, who is the Secretary of Civil Liberties Australia (CLA).

He has told me the following: “In the ACT and Victoria, people already have the chance to argue their case for the right to take photos under human rights legislation. The issue has not yet arisen in these jurisdictions, but it will.  Note that both Acts give ACT and Victorian residents rights ‘regardless of borders’ and ‘whether within or outside Victoria’. Under Australian law, NSW is obliged to respect the laws of Victoria.”

And on that basis, Queensland has to respect the laws of Victoria as well. I recently had a friend from Melbourne who told me that she would (technically) need a permit to publish images from a bushwalking trip that she was doing in central Queensland. Given that the bushwalking trip she was undertaking was going to last six days, she would have had to pay the Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service (QPWS) in excess of $150 to publish these images if the QPWS had decided to enforce their bizarre regulations.

Anyway, this is the relevant section of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006

15. Freedom of expression

(1)     Every person has the right to hold an opinion without interference.
(2)     Every person has the right to freedom of expression which includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, whether within or outside Victoria and whether –
(a)     orally; or
(b)     in writing; or
(c)     in print; or
(d)     by way of art; or
(e)     in another medium chosen by him or her.
(3)     Special duties and responsibilities are attached to the right of freedom of expression and the right may be subject to lawful restrictions reasonably necessary –
(a)     to respect the rights and reputation of other persons; or
(b)     for the protection of national security, public order, public health or public morality.

I sincerely doubt that the “lawful restrictions” that can be imposed upon freedom of expression would extend to the right of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service or certain local councils in Sydney to act like modern-day bushrangers.

Posted in Australia, National Parks, Photography | 9 Comments

Filming and Photographic Fees and Charges are Extortion

In today’s edition of The Sydney Morning Herald there is a very  interesting Page One article about price gouging by Telstra, everyone’s favourite telecommunications company … “Call charges set to fall as Telstra price gouging revealed” by Lucy Battersby (http://www.smh.com.au/business/call-charges-set-to-fall-as-telstra-price-gouging-revealed-20100917-15g7v.html).

I was particularly interested in the fact that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has revealed that the cost to Telstra of each local call placed is just 7 cents, while the company charges the other companies that it onsells to 17 cents for each local call. The price of local calls is capped at 22 cents.

Reading this article made me wonder what costs are “incurred” by local councils and the various national parks services that charge fees for small-scale “commercial” filming and photography? I would strongly suggest that the cost to these bodies – apart from their self-imposed cost of “approval” – is none. Zero. Nada. Nichts. Not one cent.

What’s even worse is that given that Australia is a signatory to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which was ratified by us in 1980, that these various fees and charges would be seem to be in breach of Australia’s commitment to protect freedom of expression.

Article 19 (2) of the Covenant – which is a United Nations document – states that, “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of their choice.” It should also be noted that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights states that “covenants, statutes, protocols and conventions are legally-binding for those States that ratify or accede to them” – see http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/

And while Article 19 (2) of the Covenant is tempered by Article 19 (3) which succeeds it and there is not an absolute carte blanche given to freedom of expression, the certain restrictions that can be imposed upon it by law can only be necessary in order to protect the rights and reputations of others, or are for the protection of national security, public order, public health or morals.

So when Waverley Council imposes a fee upon a freelance photographer of $75 an hour plus $150 application fee, one could be one hundred per cent guaranteed that this financial impost – which impinges on the photographer’s freedom of expression – has nothing to do with protecting the rights and reputations of others, or for the protection of national security, public order, public health or morals. It’s all about a local council’s self-proclaimed right to engage in price gouging.

CHIEF PRACTITIONERS OF EXTORTION

* Sydney Harbour Federation Trust – the “owners” of Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour charge $1,250 for a full day of “low intensity” photography, which scales up to $2,000 for a full day of “low intensity” filming. For more information on the Trust’s  bushranging activities see my previous post at https://rossbmedia.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/cockatoo-island-offers-exciting-locations-and-sky-high-fees-2/

By setting fees which are in the “stratosphere” for low intensity filming and photography, the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust are gold medal performers in the art of price gouging. But here are some of the runners-up:

* Cairns Regional Council – $145 for a commercial photography permit. Applicants for either a commercial filming or photography permit must also hold public liability insurance cover to a minimum value of $20 million. Most other jurisdictions that require public liability insurance cover only need it to a value of $10 million.

* Parramatta City Council – $565.90 per day for commercial filming or photography plus a bond of $1,500. If the filming or photography is deemed to have a community benefit, Parramatta City Council still thinks that it is fine and dandy to take $84.65 per day from your wallet, while the bond is $275.

* City of Port Phillip (Melbourne) – a permit for commercial stills photography costs $319.00 for the first day and $141.00 for any subsequent days. Applicants for a commercial filming permit must hold public liability insurance cover to a minimum value of $20 million, while applicants for a commercial photography permit are required to hold public liability cover to a minimum value of not be less than $5 million.

Posted in Australia, Photography | Leave a comment

Meaningless Words: Another Waverley Council “Response”

On Monday, September 13th I published an email that I had sent to Waverley Council in August and the response that I got that day from the Media/Executive Assistant to the Mayor of Waverley Council. I wasn’t very impressed with the response I had got to my questions of August 27th, so I wrote back to the Media/Executive Assistant on Tuesday asking for some clarification. Today, I have received the response to the set of questions that I sent to Waverley Council on September 14th. The email that I wrote to Waverley Council read as follows:

                                                                              September 14th, 2010

Hello Danielle

Yesterday I received a response from you to an email that had originally been sent to Dov Midalia on August 27th. Unfortunately I do not really consider that the response you gave me has adequately answered the two questions that were in my original email. So I am putting them to Waverley Council again.

Question One:

On Page Eight of the Local Government Filming Protocol 2009, under the heading ‘The New Local Government Filming Protocol’, the following is stated:

“Amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 provided that the Director General may issue a filming protocol which is binding on local councils in relation to the approvals and services provided to location filming production.

This revised protocol, is binding on local councils, and spells out the dynamic of the relationship between the screen industry in NSW and local government under these new arrangements. It seeks to generate a shared intelligence between filmmakers and councils of the issues associated with the needs of each party to support the screen industry and meet the needs of local communities.

The act of filming does not of itself require an approval by councils, nor is it subject to fees.

What may require approval, and attract fees, are activities associated with filming where approval is required under legislated or regulatory authority or services are provided to the filmmaker. …

This Protocol does not cover stills photography – the Filming Related Legislation Amendment Act 2008 and the Local Government Act 1993 specifically exclude still photography, and it does not require council approval or attract council fees unless it involves additional activity such as blocking streets, constructing a set or additional parking. In these cases, the Protocol can provide guidance for councils in processing high impact stills shoots. Those contemplating still photography should approach councils for further information.”

You will note that I have highlighted in red and further underlined some very relevant parts of this page of the Local Government Filming Protocol.

So my question is this: If Waverley Council is charging small-scale photographers who are either low impact or medium impact (according to council definitions) both an application fee and a per hour fee for such “commercial photography” when their photography activity has no additional impact such as blocking streets, etc. – doesn’t this put the current Waverley Council policy in breach of the Local Government Filming Protocol 2009, which is supposedly binding upon all councils in New South Wales?

And if Waverley Council does not consider itself to be in breach of the Local Government Filming Protocol 2009, doesn’t this show that the section that I have highlighted in red from Page Eight of the Protocol is in effect meaningless?

Question Two

Waverley Council has produced a document titled “Commercial Filming and Photography in and of Public Open Spaces in Waverley”. This document can be accessed at http://tinyurl.com/2w8f68v

According to this document, you need a permit … ‘If you want to capture aerial images of Waverley for commercial purposes from aircraft flying over the area’ and … ‘If you want to use an image of the Waverley area for a commercial purpose (for example you may be a picture editor, a commercial film library or tour operator).’

My question therefore is this: On what basis can Waverley Council insist on permits in either of these situations? What legal right do you have to ask for such permits? (In your response of September 13th you claimed: “Many commercial products and events seek to align their product with the Bondi brand. It is in the interest of all parties to protect and maintain its iconic status and image.” However this does not answer the question that I put to Waverley Council and further, I can see nothing in the Local Government Act 1993 which would give Waverley Council any such powers which are claimed in the document that I have cited.)

 FURTHER QUESTIONS

 Question Three:

You noted in your response of September 13th that, “Waverley Council receives thousands of applications each year for photography and filming.”

My question is this, how many photographic applications did Waverley Council receive in the past year (financial year 2009-2010, or calendar year 2009) and how many were approved?

Question Four:

On Page Four of the Local Government Filming Protocol 2009, the Minister for Local Government notes the following: “Fees and charges related to location filming activity are, at a maximum, to be cost reflective.”

My question is this. In what way can the Waverley Council charges for still photography ($150 application fee and $75 per hour for low impact) be said to be “cost reflective”, when a low impact photographer incurs no cost to council apart from your own self-imposed cost of processing an application?

Further, aren’t “commercial” photographers entitled to feel that they are being unfairly treated by Waverley Council when you impose a cost upon them of an application fee of $150 plus $75 per hour for both low and medium impact photography (thus making a one-day shoot of eight hours a very costly exercise at $750) when a personal fitness trainer can make use of Waverley Council’s public open spaces throughout the entire year for as little as $700?

Question Five:

In 2004 I was told by a Waverley Council official that I would need a council permit in order to take pictures in the Waverley Cemetery which were to be used in conjunction with a magazine article. Does this situation still apply? And further, does your definition of “commercial” photography extend to photographers who are doing pictures for magazine features in Public Open Spaces, or whose photography will be used in books, calendars, postcards etc.?

Question Six:

On September 6th, Woollahra Council passed a motion stating, “That an urgent report be brought to Council on the cost and impact of removing all regulations and fees for low impact photography in Woollahra.” This successful motion was proposed by Councillors Shoebridge, Grieve and Jarnason and their rationale was that: “There appears no earthly reason to regulate small scale photography in the area when it causes no or minimal impact on residents or the use of public space.”

My understanding is that the removal of fees and permits for low impact “commercial” photography in the Woollahra Council area will happen very soon. My question is this, isn’t this action by Woollahra Council indicative of the fact that fees charged and permits required by small-scale photographers are actually unjustifiable?

I look forward to your considered response.

Thanking you,

Ross Barnett

_______________________________________________

And this was the response I received today, September 16th from Danielle Lee-Ryder, the Media/Executive Assistant to the Mayor of Waverley Council.

Hi Ross

Commercial still photography is not covered by the filming protocol. This was made clear by the Office of Filming when the NSW Filming Policy was gazetted in 2009.

Waverley Council was involved in the consultation when the NSW Filming Policy was developed along with many other councils. From this consultation Council reviewed its still photography fee structure to reflect the filming structure. There are now two categories, low/medium impact and high impact/exclusive use. While location fees have been retained for still photography, for low/medium impact shoots both application and location fees are now lower than before.

Council will consider reviewing the current situation for low impact commercial still photography. We will meet with other councils, the Office of Filming, the Department of Local Government and the LGSA on this matter.

In the meantime, the current fees and charges apply for all photography and filming of all public places in Waverley. As previously mentioned, under certain conditions (e.g. community benefit) the hourly fee may be waived for low impact commercial photography, however a permit is still required.

Regards

Danielle

Posted in Australia, Photography | 6 Comments

Waverley Council – Questions and “Answers”

I am in the process of completing an article for A********* P********** magazine about the various photographic regulations around the country. As part of the research for that article, I sent an email to Waverley Council on August 27th. Just today (September 13th), I have received a response.

My initial email read as follows:

“I am a Sydney-based writer who has written quite extensively about the issue of photographic access and restrictions in Australia, particularly as they apply in national parks and some local council areas. I am currently working on a large feature on this subject for A********* P********** magazine, which updates and expands a story that I did for the magazine back in 2004 (“Daylight Robbery”, October 2004).

As you would have been aware the issue of photographic access, fees and permits was raised again in the Sydney media just two weeks ago. There were articles in both the Wentworth Courier and The Sydney Morning Herald and an item on the Channel Ten evening news on August 12th.

I wanted to clarify something for my new article for A********* P********** and would hope that you would be able to help me. Firstly, I understand that Waverley Council requires permits from low-impact “commercial” photographers who wish to take pictures in council’s “public open spaces” and then charges fees on top of that. This seems to happen despite the fact that the Local Government Filming Protocol of 2009 says that the Filming Related Legislation Amendment Act 2008 and the Local Government Act 1993 specifically exclude still photography, and therefore still photography doesn’t require council approval or attract fees unless it involves additional activity such as blocking streets, constructing a set or requires additional parking. This protocol is supposed to be binding upon local councils. My question therefore is this: On what basis is Waverley Council requiring permits from low-impact “commercial” photographers and charging them fees?

Secondly, Waverley Council seems to have produced a recent document titled “Commercial Filming and Photography in and of Public Open Spaces in Waverley”. I have attached a copy of this Word Document which can also be accessed at http://tinyurl.com/2w8f68v

According to this document, you need a permit … ‘If you want to capture aerial images of Waverley for commercial purposes from aircraft flying over the area’ and … ‘If you want to use an image of the Waverley area for a commercial purpose (for example you may be a picture editor, a commercial film library or tour operator).’ My question therefore is this: On what basis can Waverley Council insist on permits in either of these situations? What legal right do you have to ask for such permits?”

I look forward to your response.

Thanking you

Ross Barnett

______________________________________________

And this is the response I got today from Danielle Lee-Ryder, who is the Media/Executive Assistant to the Mayor of Waverley Council.

Hi Ross

Thanks for your query relating to photography.

Waverley Council receives thousands of applications each year for photography and filming. There is a high demand from a myriad of groups such as photographers, filming crews, sporting groups, and fitness trainers. It would be physically impossible to allow all these groups to use our area without some form of administration. Like many other councils, we have a permit system to help manage the high demand, make it equitable and help minimise the impact on residents, visitors and the local environment. The permit also ensures the proposed filming and/or photography is suitable for the location, residents are notified where applicable, and that organisations have public liability insurance.

At some locations such as the historic Waverley Cemetery, certain filming and photographic activities are not appropriate. Similarly, Bondi is an iconic venue with world-wide recognition. Many commercial products and events seek to align their product with the Bondi brand. It is in the interest of all parties to protect and maintain its iconic status and image.

Consequently commercial film crews and still photographers need to apply for a permit to carry out commercial work in Waverley’s public open spaces (e.g. beaches, parks and malls). Rangers are notified of all Council issued permits. Rangers will only approach a photographer or filming crew if they appear to be undertaking commercial operations without a valid permit, or behaving in an inappropriate or dangerous manner, or causing disruption to the general amenity of the public.

Waverley Council is extremely supportive of arts and cultural activities. We regularly host arts and photographic exhibitions at the Bondi Pavilion, Bondi Road Arts Centre and the Waverley Library. We also have an artist in residence program to support up and coming local artists where we provide them with a studio and they work towards developing a community minded exhibition. We also hold the Waverley Youth Art Award, Waverley Art Prize, CAL/ Waverley Library Award for Literature and public arts projects. The Bondi Pavilion is also an affiliated venue for the annual Head On photography festival. We also manage and promote a legal graffiti art wall at Bondi Beach.

Fee information is below. In relation to the Filming Protocol this does not apply to still photography, however in consultation with other Councils we amended our fee structure to low, medium and high impact in 2009. We are well within our right to charge a fee as do many other organisations and Councils. All fees go into our general budget and used to help maintain our highly visited area. Council at times negotiates the waiving of fees on a case by case basis.

Application Fee for Low/Medium Impact Photography is $150.00 per application. Rate per hour is $75.00. Application Fee for High Impact Photography or exclusive use is $300.00 per application. Rate per hour is $150.00.

Posted in Australia, Photography | 17 Comments

Garrett No More – New Environment Minister in Canberra

In the brand new Federal cabinet line-up that has been put together by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the one-time Minister for Burning Batts (aka Peter Garrett) has been shifted sideways from his position as Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts to the new portfolio of Schools, Early Childhood and Youth. Tony Burke, the former Minister for Sustainable Population and  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has taken up the position of Minister for Sustainable Population, Communities, Environment and Water.

Let’s hope that this new minister will prove to be less gullible than his predecessor and more resistant to the hoodwinking activities of the pious and pompous prats bureaucrats within Parks Australia.

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