Policy adopted May 2010
Policy last updated September 2020
Scope and application
This policy applies to filming and photography, and related activities, on all lands acquired or reserved under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act), except for lands reserved under Part 4A of the Act (unless the Board of Management for those lands has adopted the policy). However, NPWS staff can use the policy as guidance in their dealings with Boards of Management.
Filming activities that require NPWS approval outside parks, such as proposals to approach marine mammals within prescribed distances, are not subject to the Filming Approval Act 2004 (FA Act) and will be assessed under other relevant legislation.
Approval means approval under section 4(2) of the FA Act.
Commercial filming means any filming or photography ‘for sale, hire or profit’ (as per Part 2 of the NPW Regulation). Commercial filming includes:
- advertisements, feature films, news and current affairs on commercial networks (both pay television and free-to-air stations, including the ABC)
- TV or internet drama
- educational films
- Government sponsored filming
- tourism promotions.
Commercial photography includes images for
- commercial websites
- promotional material
and the commercial photography of private events, including professional wedding photography.
Consent means approval under the National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2019 (NPW Regulation).
Delegated officer means the holder of delegation under section 11 of the FA Act to approve filming (see Accountabilities at the end of this policy).
Filming means recording images (whether on film or video tape or electronically or by other means) for exhibition or broadcast (such as by cinema, television or the Internet or by other means) or for sale (FA Act). In this policy a reference to filming also includes photography unless stated otherwise.
Filming activity means filming and any other activity reasonably connected with the carrying out of filming, whether or not for a commercial purpose (FA Act).
Lifestyle and travel programs means footage filmed for television or Internet programming (but not feature films or advertising) or for magazines or other print media, the primary intent of which is to encourage visitation to the area that is the subject of the filming. It is limited to activity that has negligible impact on the environment.
Minister means the Minister administering the NPW Act.
National parks legislation means the NPW Act, the NPW Regulation, the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act) and the Wilderness Act 1987 (Wilderness Act).
News and current affairs means programs or footage filmed to relay information about recent events or happenings and includes filming of segments related to weather reporting. It is limited to the duration of a specific event with a discrete (though not necessarily pre-defined) timeframe, and has negligible impact on the environment.
Nominated officer means the officer publicly identified as the person who is the first point of contact for filming applicants, and who receives filming applications. This may vary for news and current affairs, lifestyle and travel programs, and other types of filming.
Park means any land reserved or acquired under Parts 4 or 11 of the NPW Act (including any wilderness area located on such land).
Photography includes the recording of still images on any recording medium or in any format (for example, digital or film).
Privacy legislation means the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 or the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998.
NPWS means the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Small-scale filming means filming or photography that:
- involves a maximum of one camera operator and one assistant
- requires only low-level equipment (for example, a single tripod or equipment that can be carried in a backpack)
- does not use structures, film sets or professional talent
- does not exclude an area from use by other users
- has negligible potential to impact on a park environment (for example, most wedding photography).
This section outlines NPWS staff with significant responsibilities for ensuring implementation of the policy.
|Type of application
||Officer with delegation to approve application
|Area/s within one NPWS operations branch
|More than one NPWS operations branch
||Director, Visitor Experience Branch to approve individual location requests. Only one application and Environmental Management Bond applies.
|News and current affairs filming
||Director, Public Affairs (in consultation with NPWS Director).
|Travel and lifestyle filming
||Director, Visitor Experience Branch (in consultation with NPWS Director).
|Proposals requiring Review of Environmental Factors (REF)
||As per REF determination guidelines.