Screen Australia has today published its final draft of the proposed Code of Conduct to Assist the Prevention of Sexual Harassment. After considering further industry feedback, the aim is for all Screen Australia productions approved from 2 April 2018 onwards to be required to put the Code into effect.
In practice, this will mean that all people working on a production will need to be made aware of the Code and producers will be required to nominate a trained staff member to be a Sexual Harassment Prevention Contact to address any harassment complaints. Producers will be required to submit a Code Compliance Report at the conclusion of production, in the form of a statutory declaration, confirming all Code obligations were met.
“The Sex Discrimination Act was enacted in 1984, but that has not stopped sexual harassment occurring in Australian workplaces, including in the screen industry,” said Screen Australia COO Fiona Cameron. “The proposed Code gives visibility to the standards and responsibilities that already exist, and makes it clear that on any Screen Australia production there is zero tolerance for harassment.”
“Because the screen industry depends heavily on freelancers and contractors, the Code also gives producers a method of clearly setting an expectation that the workplace must be safe for all, regardless of how people come to work on a production or for how long. We look forward to receiving feedback on the final draft.”
Screen Australia’s intention to create the Code was first announced at the Safe Workplace Strategies industry forum on 12 December 2017. The final draft of the Code was presented late yesterday at the Screen Producers Australia (SPA) Safe Workplace Training workshop.
SPA and the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) are also currently working on an industry-wide policy in consultation with the industry, including Screen Australia. It is hoped that a standard industry code will be put in place for all entertainment organisations in the future.
Fiona Cameron added, “The Australian screen industry has a lot to be proud of – our talent, stories and screen businesses are world class. We cannot allow improper, or indeed illegal, workplace behaviour to tarnish our good name. By placing genuine emphasis on protecting our highly valued staff at work, we are also addressing a very real reputational and commercial risk.”
“Of course the aim of the Code is not to manage harassment, but to eradicate it. Creativity cannot thrive in environments where people don’t feel safe.”
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