Visiting film crew sparks calls for travel reform

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Council will seek reform to current COVID-19 travel restrictions after a Sydney-based film crew were given the green light to travel to Broken Hill next week.

Council initially refused to issue a filming permit to the crew due to COVID-19 concerns and escalated the matter to NSW Police, however it is understood the 100-strong crew is free to travel to Broken Hill as current restrictions allow “travel to work.”

Mayor Darriea Turley AM said Council had no choice to grant the filming permit under current conditions, but added she would fight to ensure the loophole in current legislation is fixed as soon as soon as possible.

“I realise the crew are technically travelling to work, but I’m not sure it’s in keeping with the controls the Government is looking to enforce around limiting movement out of Sydney.

“While we absolutely want to accommodate film crews wherever possible, we also have an obligation to protect the community, and I believe the staff have acted in the best interest of residents by raising concerns.”

Mayor Turley said urgent correspondence was being be sent to Minister for Western NSW, Adam Marshall, and Member for Barwon, Roy Butler, requesting action.

“We want to be really clear that this is not an issue with the crew, they’re operating within the current guidelines and they have assured us they’re taking every precaution possible in relation to COVID-19,” said Mayor Turley.

“But the reality is we’re a remote community with a high proportion of elderly and indigenous residents, and the introduction of 100 people from Sydney is an undeniable risk for us.

“We are COVID-free and we currently enjoy a travel exemption or ‘bubble’ with Victoria and South Australia, and it would be devastating for us if that is compromised.

“As we’ve seen in the past, we become incredibly isolated in relation to health, education, and family when we lose our ability to cross the border.

“We can’t afford for that access to be jeopardised, so we’ll be calling on the State Government to enact urgent reforms to current legislation around travel.”

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