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Film ban to cost millions

WA’S scenic State-managed parks have become the subject of a tug-of-war between advertising production companies attracted by our untainted vistas and the Government department charged with managing our natural heritage.

The issue boiled over last week when a photographic shoot for an inter-national car release was cancelled after Conservation and Land Management denied permission to use a remote Midwest location.

The production company involved claims a decision by CALM’s director recreation parks and planning Jim Sharp not to allow the shoot on the cliffs in Kalbarri has placed future work in jeopardy, proved costly and diverted thousands of dollars away from Kalbarri to private land in Carnarvon.

But Mr Sharp said there were concerns about the shoot which involved a car being put at the edge of a gorge and showing inappropriate use of a national park.

“The other issue was the shoot had the potential to disrupt public access to the area for three to four days,” Mr Sharp said.

International commercial shoots bring millions of dollars into Australia every year, create jobs and attract international tourists.

International photographer Willie Von Recklinghausen was in Perth to shoot the advertisement for a major Japanese car manufacturer for the European market.

Mr Recklinghausen chose a location in Kalbarri that was accepted in principle by the local park ranger but failed to be approved by Mr Sharp.

After contact with Kim Chance, the Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Midwest, Wheatbelt and Great Southern, Mr Sharp called the producer and said there was a spot in Kalbarri where they could shoot, but due to the tight schedule the production had already been moved to Carnarvon.

Freelance producer Dave Haldiman said the uncertainty meant Kalbarri missed out on the economic benefit of the production, including disabled access to the site which his team was willing to fund.

John Jessop, manager and owner of Kalbarri Best Western Palm Resort and chairman of the Kalbarri Tourist Bureau, is concerned bureaucratic behaviour may have stopped the Kalbarri shoot.

“Some obscure reason has driven $5,000 worth of business in Kalbarri to some station in Carnarvon,” he said.

“It’s just a pity...the CALM officer in town decided there wasn’t a problem, he’d virtually given the green light.”

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