Local filmakers breach child employment laws

Published: 30 March 2017

Two Melbourne filmmakers have pleaded guilty to breaching the state's child employment laws.

Melbourne Magistrates Court fined the employers $14,000 each, plus costs, on 23 March, 2017.

The court noted the seriousness of the offences, given the legislation is about safety and the rights of children.

The case highlighted the need for all entertainment businesses to gain permits before employing children in acting or modelling roles and to ensure that they are not exposed to situations that could cause physical or psychological harm.

The case revolved around a local independent film production company failing to obtain permits for 10 child actors as well as allowing a child to climb repeatedly over seats in a car without wearing a seatbelt.

Child Employment Officers took the matter to court due to its seriousness, noting that one of the independent film's producers was a Victorian lecturer responsible for teaching aspiring local filmmakers.

The Child Employment Act 2003, along with the Mandatory Code of Practice for the Employment of Children in Entertainment, provides a legally enforceable framework covering matters including working hours, breaks, education, change facilities, supervision and content that is not appropriate for children.

Under the framework, employers are required to provide parents with a summary of the Code before their child commences employment and must also give parents detailed information about the intended role the child will perform.

For more information go to www.business.vic.gov.au/childemployment