Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Stealth Movie Not Wilderness Friendly - The Grose Wilderness should not be used as a film site for an adventure movie

AFG Talons Pty Ltd, operating out of Fox Studios, proposes to film scenes for the adventure movie Stealth near Mount Hay in the Grose Wilderness.

"The filming appears not to comply with environmental laws and Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) should not approve the proposal," said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness. "To comply with the Wilderness Act, the film proposal must protect the unmodified state of the area and its plant and animal communities."

"Several impacts from the filming are likely to damage the wilderness, such as the exclusive use of the Mt Hay area by up to 75 people, laying down several large decks, helicopter overflights, and unintentional crushing of rock formations and plant seedlings. Forty-one threatened animal species and 35 threatened plant species could be affected by the proposal."

"Further, the Blue Mountains National Park plan of management prohibits structures and vehicles in wilderness areas. The proposed use of 120 square metres of temporary decks and a helicopter appear to be prohibited."

"I understand that Simon Smith of the Regulatory Division of the new Department will be deciding whether the proposal goes ahead and not Dr Tony Fleming of the Parks Service Division. DEC should not be taking risks with the protection of wilderness areas by regulating these areas as if they were like the coal mines, steel mills or sewage treatment plants that the Environment Protection Agency are used to controlling," Mr Muir said. "Last year Premier Carr circulated a memo asking all government agencies to be 'film friendly'".

"'Film friendly' should require that the filming respect wilderness and other environmental laws be limited to eight persons and also advance nature conservation and wilderness concepts. Running over a wilderness and blasting away with weapons as proposed for the Stealth shoot out finale may promote the abuse of parks. The Premier's memo should not be a signal for DEC to be less risk averse with wilderness and approve things it should not otherwise approve," said Mr Muir.

"This large-scale commercial filming proposal is not suited to a wilderness location and many alternative sites are available. It is inappropriate and unnecessarily to film in environmentally sensitive sites, such as montane heath lands and hanging swamps to produce an adventure film, like Stealth. The Blue Mountains provides almost endless opportunities for filming highly dramatic scenery outside national parks and wilderness areas," Mr Muir said.*

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)

*AFG Talons has applied to the Department of Environment and Conservation for a permit, which, if issued, will set a bad precedent for commercial use of wilderness areas. If approved, any other proposed activity in a wilderness that involves up to 120 square metres of decking, substantial electric power generation, major lighting, a motorised flying fox, helicopter support and up to 75 people could be approved in a wilderness area.