09/03/2018
The Word,

President’s Report

Happy New Year to all of you if I haven’t wished it to you in person! May this year bestow us all with many opportunities for work on projects with decent budgets and good catering!

Unfortunately I missed out on the PFCWA 2017 AGM and Xmas Party. Congratulations to Vice President Lauren and the other committee folk who ensured a well run event with the best ever attendance of members and family. Plenty items were addressed on the AGM agenda including the following:
– Passing of the Special Resolution, which enabled the required changes to our Rules of Association. Thanks again to Nigel for his efforts with this. Once registered and accepted, the new Rules of Association will be available on the PFCWA website and a link sent to all members.
– Presentation of the new PFCWA website – Arthur and Lauren have been overseeing the work-in-progress with the website developer.
-Mike Montague was a very proud recipient of the PFCWA award for outstanding contribution to the industry. We’re all aware that 2017 was a tough year for freelancers and Mike has suffered more than most. He was most humbled to receive the award and happy that he managed to deliver his acceptance speech without saying anything politically incorrect!
– Election of the 2018 committee, who have held their first meeting and elected Office Bearers

Your 2018 committee and executives are:
John Fairhead – President
Lauren Widdicombe – Vice-President
Hayden Fortescue – Secretary
Lien See Leong – Treasurer
Monique Wajon
Jenny Beale
Sahra Miller
Arthur Bienkowski
Greg Stirling
Kate Anderson
Nigel Devenport

Screenwest is currently undertaking a review of the Emerging Sector. Several of us from your committee attended the forums held to gather information as part of the review. I hope many of you completed the online survey, which was available for all local screen practitioners regardless of their experience, to contribute to the Emerging Sector Review outcomes. See the separate article in this Wrap for relevant information on the Emerging Sector previously provided by PFCWA to Screenwest.

Screenwest has a new CEO, Seph McKenna. Upon my return from Sydney I met with him and Ian Booth to provide insight into PFCWA and the concerns our members have regarding the local industry. Following on from the meeting I’ve provided Seph with reports and information that PFCWA has previously provided to Screenwest and the Dept of Culture and the Arts. At a follow up meeting Seph and I delved deeper into many of the issues raised in the information provided.

Despite the as yet unknown funding pressures which Screenwest will have to deal with that a deteriorating revenue from LotteryWest will present, I feel Screenwest’s corporate restructuring and the appointment of a CEO with Seph’s experience, connections and sincere enthusiasm for the screen industry, will provide new opportunities for industry growth.

Affecting positive change is hard. But it would be impossible if we don’t actively participate in relevant industry discussions. So please be proactive wherever you can. Talk about issues you feel are important with your fellow crew, communicate any concerns and/or thoughts with your PFCWA committee, support the Make it Australian campaign, take part in online surveys – have your voice heard!

Mike is continuing to work with Screenwest to find solutions to the critical issues surrounding unit infrastructure. He informs me that there still remains no significant progress at this stage towards new equipment, and projected WA production levels for the remainder of the year has Tim and him still very much in survival mode only. Growth will not occur without significant ‘angel investment’ in the short term.

The issuse of non-payment of superannuation by some production companies/producers has been raised by a few members. Those who attended the Freelancer’s Workshop co-facilitated by PFCWA last year were provided with very useful information on this topic. See the separate article on superannuation in this Wrap and keep an eye out for a Buzz newsflash regarding an upcoming Superannuation Information Session coming up soon!

Lien See has done a wonderful job in ensuring that membership renewals are as easy as possible for us. Whilst most members are paid up there are several that will have their membership placed on hold if payment is not received. Please contact Lien See if you’re having trouble making payment.
Remember, the bigger we are as a community, the louder our voice is. So if your membership dues are outstanding, please pay up now! If you know of a fellow crew member who has the professional experience and is not part of the PFCWA family please encourage them to apply.

Finally. Whilst I and your committee will continue to do our upmost to promote and represent your interests towards establishing a vibrant, sustainable and growing West Australian film industry, we’d really appreciate your input. Call or email me (I’m not on Facebook!), or any of your committee folk with information, thoughts, views on issues that have been raised or that you would like raised.

Be happy, stay safe!

John

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The Word,

MEAA Update

MEAA Update
– Nigel Devenport

The Federal Council of MEAA met in Sydney in late February. As a WA Councillor I attended both the ECS (Entertainment, Crew and sport which represents film crew) sectional meeting as well as the biennial Federal Council meeting.

There was a lot to take in over three days of meetings but the main takeaways from a WA crew point of view were the seriousness of the approach that the Union is taking to sexual harassment and also the ramping up of the “Get Real on Rates” campaign.

Every section in the union (Equity, ECS and Media) has a focus on the sexual harassment issue. Equity is leading the way, with a survey of members indicating 40% of respondents reported experiencing harassment. Equity is actively working with the major theatre companies to develop a joint strategy to address the issue as well as talking to Live Performance Australia.

ECS and Equity are working with SPA to write a code of conduct for our industry. This should facilitate ease of reporting incidents. Ultimately we hope to see harassment guidelines incorporated into the new code of safety that we want to have in place by year’s end.

The “Get Real on Rates” campaign will kick up a gear this year. SPA have demonstrated a marked disinclination to negotiate with us in any meaningful sense-and why would they?

The old MPPA rates haven’t shifted since 2012 as they are not linked to cost of living, so we have effectively been copping a 2-3% reduction in real wages every year (based on minimum rates). This plays into SPA’s hands and it is their interest to keep the status quo. In fact since the Award (BREA) is index linked some of the lower level rates are now higher than the MPPA rates.

In an attempt to get SPA to take us seriously we are making a real effort to get Union membership up to at least 50% on every project and make sure that producers are aware of that. 50% is the magic number under which protected industrial action becomes possible and while that is a last resort the mere fact that it becomes a real possibility should encourage SPA back to the table.

In NSW they have managed to achieve this on 5 productions last year and the trend line is going up. Over here we all know the levels of membership are not good but that is really a matter for each of us to consider and make a choice about. There are benefits to union membership beyond the immediate and it is in our long-term interests to get rates up to a liveable level. The ball is in your court. The MEAA will be more visible this year and intends to make regular set visits. It is worthwhile having a listen to them.

Superannuation

Follow this link for information on the payment and entitlement to Superannuation. It is worth noting that this is a requirement of the Superannuation Guarantee Act, and not a union rule. In short it is the law.

Nigel Devenport – Photograph by David Dare Parker
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PFCWA Survey: How and where are you working?

PFCWA has created an online survey to get a better understanding on where and how our crew in WA are being employed.

Please click here to complete the survey.

We need to have as many responses from WA professional practitioners as possible to get a snapshot of what WA crew are currently facing. The information will remain anonymous and the data collected with be used in discussions on various issues. Most importantly trying to quantify what a “sustainable level of drama production activity” is.

Cast and crew are feeling the strain from the lack of work in Australia at the moment. A globally uncompetitive Location Offset of 16.5% and strong Aussie dollar means that many larger scale international productions are choosing not to shoot in Australia. This leaves many people unemployed and competing for work on smaller productions.

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Screen Australia: Code of Conduct

Sexual Harassment has been an important issue recently especially within the film and TV industry worldwide. We at PFCWA have been keeping an eye on the changing horizon and how events like harassment will now be handled in the workplace. SPA and MEAA are working towards a comprehensive policy and procedure process to put in place on productions so there is a clear way to handle situations, complaints and employees in the future. Women In Film and TV (WIFT) are also working towards a policy.

Screen Australia has proposed that any of their productions approved for funding in 2018 will be required to use the below ‘Code’ for their projects. This will be a condition of their funding contract.

For more information about the proposed Code please view the accompanying media release.

Screen Australia proposed Code of Conduct

We will keep you up to date when these policies become finalised and how they have been implemented on our sets. Time’s up on this behaviour.

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