SBS’s contentious doco Struggle Street has had its application to film in Queensland knocked back by Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Graham Quirk. SBS had been applying for permits to film a series in Inala, but Quirk wasn’t having a bar of it after seeing how the show affected the reputation of Mount Druitt in Sydney last season.
The network had revealed last month it was gearing up for round two, citing Victoria and Queensland as its next targets, but it could be old Vic that takes the heat with Quirk putting a stop to any sort of filming up north.
“I have absolutely no problem with the highlighting of the issues of social and economic disadvantage in Australia,” Quirk told the Brisbane City Council chamber on Tuesday, after refusing permits for SBS filming.
“They are important issues and they ought to be part of the public debate.
“However, having viewed Struggle Street and having observed the way in which Mt Druitt’s reputation was damaged in the so-called name of shining a light on social and economic disadvantage, I have come to the view that I will not co-operate with the process and production of a film that could similarly cause damage to reputation both to the suburb and to the people of Inala.”
Quirk added that the council was powerless to prevent producers going ahead with the production on residents’ private properties, in which case that’s “a matter for them”, but the Mayor for one would “not be providing council assistance”.
On the opposing team, however, local Labor councillor Charles Strunk, who according to SMH didn’t catch the original Struggle Street series, thinks it could be a missed opportunity for the obviously struggling suburb of Inala.
“I just hope that we haven’t, in some way, not allowed Inala to be shown in a good light, in a positive light,” he said.
“I think good, positive publicity for Inala is something we could use at any time and, if they treat the people with respect and it’s an honest portrayal, I don’t think anyone in Inala would have a problem with it.”
Off the back of Quirk’s comments, an SBS spokeswoman said the second series would be fair on its subjects.
“Struggle Street series two will once again shine a light on social and economic disadvantage in Australia through a raw, honest and compassionate account of individual and community stories of challenge, triumph and adversity,” she said.
“We anticipate stories of resilience, community support and family love in what will be compelling and insightful storytelling that doesn’t shy away from the realities of hardship faced by millions of people.”