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Wednesday, 30 November 1983
Page: 3050

Mr SHIPTON —Is the Acting Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism and Minister for Home Affairs and Environment aware that an Italian film unit, Rai- Radio Television, engaged in making a documentary film on Australia for the world market, is now at Ayers Rock unable to film Australia's most notable landmark because permission has not been received from the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, notwithstanding an application to do so on 17 November? Is the Minister aware that recently Paul Hogan and an Australian Tourist Commission film crew were unable to get a permit from the National Parks and Wildlife Service to film Ayers Rock until the intervention of the Federal Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism? Does a directive from the Director of the National Parks and Wildlife Service prohibit the taking of photographs by overseas and Australian tourists at Ayers Rock? Will the Minister give details of this hitherto secret and cumbersome permit system requiring permission for photographs to be taken of the Rock? Assuming the immense administrative difficulties in getting such permits, does the Minister believe this to be conducive to the development of tourism?

Mr COHEN —I am not aware of the Italian film crew that the honourable member mentioned. There was a problem some months ago when a film crew that requested permission had not bothered to go through the appropriate channels. It is courteous to seek the permission of the Aborigines for filming-that practice has gone on for some time-by approaching the National Parks and Wildlife Service for permission to film because there are certain sacred sites and certain ceremonies and so on that are vital to the Aborigines. I received a panic-stricken call from a film crew asking whether I could facilitate the matter. Through a series of telexes and vocadexes it was done in about an hour and a half and the filming went on.

Mr Steele Hall —What about a private photographer?

Mr COHEN —Of course there is no problem with any private photographer, but with a film crew it is quite a different proposition.

Mr Anthony —Why?

Mr COHEN —Because they are often involved in filming sacred sites and often go up on to the Rock. Usually it is a much larger crew and a commercial operation. I think we all know quite well that the thousands of visitors to Ayers Rock take photographs and there is never any suggestion that they should not do. The situation, as I have explained, is that if any film crew wishes to conduct a major operation in that area it should approach the National Parks and Wildlife Service. As far as I know permission has never been refused.