Update: Stage 4 filming restrictions in Victoria



The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS.vic) Victoria has updated its permitted work premises for the Information Media and Telecommunications Sector. Effective 11.59pm Sunday 27 September 2020, ‘Pre production of Film Victoria funded screen projects’ is now permitted.

All other Stage 4 restrictions for our sector remain in place until further notice.


On Wednesday 5 August, the Victorian State Government announced Stage 4 restrictions for permitted work premises, effective for a period of six weeks.

In the case of our sector, specifically articulated as:

Feature film, television and documentary (excluding television commercials, student and corporate productions) that is already in physical production and operating as a closed set and post-production relating to it.

In conjunction with The Communications Council, The Commercial Producers Council is providing this update based on the CPC’s most recent consultation with Film Victoria.

Firstly, there are a number of grey areas so we’re seeking clarification as to:

  • Why commercial television productions have been excluded by the government from broader filming categories.
  • Whether these restrictions/closures also apply to stills photography, including shoots conducted in home studios.
  • Whether post-production is allowed to continue for commercial television productions or just, films, tv and documentaries.

Exemption procedures

Film VIC has advised that a formal exemption process will be distributed by the DHHS in the near future. In the meantime, Film VIC suggests the following course of action:

  • Awarded/planned shoots for Vic Govt projects
    Contact the relevant government department issuing the project work regarding a possible exemption.
  • Awarded/planned shoots for essential services
    Contact the DHHS hotline regarding a possible exemption. 

    NB: While there is no single definition for essential/critical services, the CPC understands they would include supermarkets, pharmacies, transport, health care/wellbeing (physical and mental), schools and universities. We are seeking confirmation of this.

Film VIC consultation

Since Stage 4 restrictions were announced on Wednesday, Film VIC has been swamped with enquiries and are doing their best to respond promptly. The CPC has appreciated their efforts to keep us informed of developments during the past week in particular.

Should you need to consult regarding specific issues, please contact:

Joe Brinkmann
Manager – Production Attraction and Support
Phone: 03 9660 3255 (ext 255)
Email: joe.brinkmann@film.vic.gov.au

Dan Beck
Locations and Production Services Co-ordinator
Phone: 03 9660 3262 (ext 262)
Email: dan.beck@film.vic.gov.au

Emily Dutton
Locations and Production Services Co-ordinator (Mon-Wed)
Phone: 03 9660 3216 (ext 216)
Email: emily.dutton@film.vic.gov.au

Sophie Ghanem
Locations and Production Services Co-ordinator
Phone: 03 9660 3236 (236)
Email: sophie.ghanem@film.vic.gov.au

NSW Border Crossing

The following advice has been provided by Screen NSW this afternoon (7 August).

At this point – noting that advice changes as the situation changes – anyone seeking to come into NSW from Victoria for work in the screen sector needs to apply for an exemption to the border restrictions, as there is not a category readily applicable to this sector.

To request an exemption, NSW Health requires a proposal that covers the following:

Health component of exemption review process: 

  • A proposal will need to include: 
    • Rationale for entering NSW
    • Predeparture swabs and health check
    • Details of transport into NSW
    • Health check on arrival in NSW
  • 14 days isolation in NSW – from Friday 7 August this is hotel quarantine, supervised by NSW Police hotel quarantine in government operated facilities – paid for by the traveller or production at $3,000.
    • Monitoring by NSW Health
    • Day 10 swabs

Proposals will be considered by NSW Health and may then be considered by the Health Minister.

In the first instance, proposals should come to grainne.brunsdon@create.nsw.gov.au at Screen NSW and we will manage the process from here.

City of Sydney Filming Waivers extended to 31 March 2021

Tuesday 29 September: The update below is from Simon Marshall, Manager – Events and Film Liaison, Venue Management, City of Sydney.

I am pleased to confirm that as part of an extensive relief package the City of Sydney has put together in support of a number of business sectors and programs in response to effects of Covid-19 restrictions, we have extended the current waiver of filming related fees until 31st March 2021.

This waiver covers all filming related fees which are normally chargeable for activities on City of Sydney owned or controlled land and is an extension of the fee waiver first adopted on 23rd March 2020.

The City of Sydney recognises that creative industries such as the film industry have been greatly affected due to the complexities of the pandemic and hopes that the waiving of such fees can assist with ever reducing budgets and potential increase in on-going production costs.

The City of Sydney has itself been heavily affected by the previous and ongoing changes to its normal operations. As such I remind and request all Productions to please ensure that all pre-requisites are adhered to for any applications being submitted to the City. This includes the importance of upholding the essential minimum deadlines with fully completed and confirmed details submitted at least 5 working days prior to the first day of shooting (or barricading if included) for non-road closure based activities .

We are unfortunately not able to consider or approve any late applications or applications with incomplete information on submission or later material changes inside these lead times.

The recent events have changed the requirements of many industries and activities across the City and sufficient information and lead times are essential for us to manage not only the general workloads but also try and ensure sufficient conflict checks across multiple parties can be completed, so filming can occur unhindered.

We hope that the waiving of filming related fees within the City of Sydney can allow for Tech Recce’s’ to be completed prior to applications being submitted, so all details can be confirmed at the time of application.

There has been an unfortunate increase in late or incomplete applications over the past few months and some occassions of activities being in breach of approved details and conditions.

We need to ensure that filming within the City of Sydney can be sustainable for all parties involved so we kindly remind all Productions and filming professionals to ensure that all applications and activities are in line with the City of Sydney Filming Guidelines available on the City of Sydney website, the NSW Film Friendly Protocol and associated NSW Filming Legislation.

With the team still working remotely for the majority of the week the usual dedicated filming phone line on 02 9265 9026 cannot always be answered. In the interim please can all enquiries be emailed to the normal openspacebookings@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au email address so the team can respond or call back once received.

There has been a noticeable positive increase in the number of filming activities over the past few months and we hope this can continue moving forwards sustainably.

Simon can be contacted on 612 9265 9452 (landline) and 61 477 730 994 (mobile).

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