Coronial inquest into death of Johann Ofner

It is with great sadness that MEAA acknowledges today’s Queensland Coroner’s findings concerning the death of our former member, Johann Ofner, in January 2017.

Our hearts go out to Johann’s family and loved ones. He suffered a fate no worker should confront – being killed in the performance of his professional duties.

Johann’s death has had a lasting impact on Australia’s community of stunt performers. They remain appalled by Johann’s tragic and needless death.

MEAA will closely review the Coroner’s findings and where necessary, work within the screen industry to ensure that the lessons learned from this awful event are heard loud and clear.

The message from Johann’s death and the incident on the set of ‘Rust’ in late 2021 is clear: safety on set is critical. Those responsible for filming, especially producers, need to take safety seriously and implement firearms safety procedures without equivocation.

When firearms are to be used, pre-planning must occur and everyone on set must be aware of the rules and be guided by professional theatrical armourers. No-one should have a gun capable of emitting a projectile discharged towards them. The screen safety guidelines make this abundantly clear.

The time has truly arrived when regulators and film professionals must come together to fix the patchwork of laws and regulations purporting to govern safety on film and television sets throughout Australia. We must work towards consistent national laws that reflect best practice when it comes to the use of firearms in screen productions.

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