Australian Screen Production Industry COVID-Safe Guidelines

Amelia Carew-ReidSydney

The Australian screen production industry has released COVID-Safe Guidelines to help get the industry back to work.

The Guidelines have been developed by the Australian Screen Sector Task Force, comprising the Australian Film Television & Radio School (AFTRS), Screen Australia, the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), Screen Producers Australia (SPA), State Agencies, Guilds, ABC, SBS, Ausfilm and major production companies, to support a safe return to production in Australia. The Guidelines have been drafted in consultation with the Commonwealth Department of Health and global law firm, Clyde & Co.

Responding to the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19, every production will need to draw up its own personalised COVID-Safe production plan that identifies the specific control measures needed to mitigate the risks COVID-19 poses to its personnel, given each production’s location, scale and content.

The Guidelines detail both mandatory controls, informed by the latest government medical advice and State WHS legislation, and a detailed, department-by-department range of control measures that each production can draw on to create its own COVID-safe plan, covering guidance on number of people on set, shooting in close proximity, use of personal protective equipment, hygiene control measures, medical advice, and travel and transport.

The safety of everyone working on productions is paramount as the industry prepares to get back to work. While these Guidelines have been drawn up collaboratively and with the best intentions of all stakeholders, the industry will need to be hyper-vigilant to ensure they are implemented thoroughly.

The Task Force has consulted widely with industry and will continue to do so.  More than 300 MEAA members attended a recent Zoom meeting to provide input and feedback into the draft and SPA consulted with approximately 60 of its member businesses during including Fremantle Australia, CJZ, Every Cloud Productions, Aquarius Films, Porchlight Films and Ludo Studio. Production companies with projects either in or about to return to production, such as Fremantle Australia, Endemol Shine and See-Saw Films, also contributed to the Guidelines with their experience of managing and planning COVID-safe productions.

The Guidelines are a ‘live’ document that will continue to evolve alongside continuing advice and as industry sector best practice develops as project return to production.

The Guidelines and associated resources are now available on the Screen Australia website.

A COVID-Safe Risk Assessment template is currently being developed and will be made available on the Screen Australia website soon.

For information on the implementation of the Guidelines please contact: