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Byron Shire
June 16, 2021

Byron Council reviews protocols on film productions

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Filming was recently taking place at old Byron Hospital. Photo Tree Faerie

Byron Council will review its rules around filming in public places in a bid to prevent productions like the docu-soap Byron Baes being filmed here in the future.

As filming of the much-loathed Netflix series continues, Council passed a resolution at last week’s meeting to develop a filming protocol that was ‘consistent with the new realities of film production in the Shire’.

‘The film industry and the proliferation of it in the area is a fantastic thing,’ Greens Deputy Mayor, Sarah Ndiaye, said. ‘Locals who work in that industry can now do here what they previously had to fly elsewhere to do.

‘But this increase in activity is requiring councils like us to review their protocols.

‘It would be great if we could get the kinds of conflicts that we have with Byron Baes resolved earlier.’

Tighten definitions

As part of its review, Council will seek to tighten up definitions around what constitutes ‘commercial filming activities’, and enable it to consider the ‘impacts, costs and opportunities created by film projects in the region’.

The Council will also review its film permit fee structure to ‘adequately cover the cost of facilitating filming in the Shire’.

While the horse appears to have bolted in terms of Byron Baes, Council will seek clarification regarding claims by the show’s producers that it amounts to an ‘ultra-low impact’ production.

This claim has allowed filming to take place virtually unimpeded.

But not all councillors were in favour of the review.

Independent Councillor Alan Hunter said the review was an ad hoc reaction, and that more professionalism was needed.

‘I think we need to think clearly about this – there’s advantages to encouraging the right kind of filming,’ Cr Hunter said.

‘This series has got a lot of people on edge and I haven’t seen a lot of justification for that. 

‘It could be a benefit for tourism, for jobs, for the film industry.’ 

But Cr Hunter remained a sole dissenting voice, with all other councillors voting in favour of the review.

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