Waverley Council – Film and Photo Policy in Black & White

A screenshot of Waverley Council's Use of Public Open Space web page - as at July 30, 2010

This is a screenshot that I took just a few minutes ago of the Waverley Council web page titled “Use of Public Open Space”. If you look closely you will notice the following:

Waverley Council offers a variety of public open space including parks, beaches, streets, malls and cemeteries, for activities including meetings, picnics, sport, weddings, filming, markets, commercial promotions, etc. Council permission may be required.

Immediately under that opening paragraph is a list of Activities Requiring Permit. As the document notes, you will require a permit to “engage in any of the following activities” … film and photography.

Detail from the Waverley Council web page screenshot (Use of Public Open Space)

I don’t think that the council policy could be any more straightforward than that. There is no mention of commercial intent whatsover, so the letter of the law as far as Waverley Council is concerned is this: you need a permit before you can take any pictures in that council’s public open spaces. Think Bondi Beach for starters.

So much for freedom of expression. And one has to ask how a council officer (or officers) could ever dream up regulations like these?

UPDATE: Still visible as above on August 19th, 2010. The link for the page is: http://www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/things_to_do/sport_and_recreation/use_of_public_open_space

FURTHER UPDATE: The same information is still visible on the above Waverley Council webpage on September 17th.


About rossbmedia

Journalist ... interested in the truth not public service spin.
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6 Responses to Waverley Council – Film and Photo Policy in Black & White

  1. Rob Walls says:

    Engaged on a project photographing work in Australia over the next year, I might just have to test the limits of these regulations. I’ll need pictures of council officers, life savers, and grave diggers at least. Coming to Waverley in the near future…

  2. rossbmedia says:

    That’s going to be interesting, Rob. Please keep me informed as to what happens.

  3. If you contacted the Waverly Council Project Officer for Bondi Beaches, Jodie Walker, like I did, she would have clarified that the permit is only required for Commercial intent.

    I still think that their policy is complete and utter BS. What if I am standing next to Ken Duncan and all we both have is ourselves and a hand held camera? He has to pay $$$$ and I don’t? Why?

    What recourse do I have when their dumb arse officers try and kick me from the area because “uggg… he big camera… duuuuuhhh…. he be professional…. awwww… I poo my pants… again….”

    The entire e-mail conversation with Jodie can be read here:

  4. rossbmedia says:

    Hi Harry – they (Waverley Council) might clarify it over the phone but their policy in print, or virtual print, is to require a permit from everyone undertaking filming and photography in one of their “public open spaces”.

  5. Peter Martin says:

    maybe what they’re hoping for is that we will start acting like criminals, and be checking out security and casing the place before setting up chair, tripod, remote, filters, etc and actually taking a photo.

  6. johitchcock says:

    My question is whether these regulations are even legal….I don’t see any legislation in place that allows Waverly council to impose permit requirements and fees unless you’re carrying out large scale filming.

    @ Harry – have you had any progress so far in finding out if the Waverly council regs are legal, or have you now been to bondi and if so did anyone approach you while taking photos?

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