The Brag Media
News July 10, 2024

‘A Complete Overreach’: Festivals Blast NSW Government’s Proposed Anzac Day Ban

‘A Complete Overreach’: Festivals Blast NSW Government’s Proposed Anzac Day Ban

After the bushfires, floods, the pandemic, packs of sniffer dogs and the cost-of-living crisis, festivals across New South Wales have another hurdle to navigate: Anzac Day.

NSW premier Chris Minns has issued a veiled threat to ban music festivals on Anzac Day, all part of a wider crackdown of retail trading on this “solemn” occasion.

On Wednesday, July 10, Minns confirmed that tougher trading restrictions would apply to supermarkets and fashion retailers, which would see them remain closed until midnight, raising the previous knock-off  from 1pm.

However, in a move that blindsided festival organisers, Minns has implied those restrictions would extend to music festivals.

“Anzac Day is a day for Australians to come together and if it is in a social environment, at a pub, at a club,” he told reporters, “as long as it’s part of an RSL club or a pub and it’s done with a view to commemorating that service, then we are not going to stand in the way of that.”

The state leader added, “there is a distinction, and I think it’s reasonable for the government to draw this distinction, between a for-profit major rock concert in the domain, that has nothing really to do with Anzac Day, that hasn’t been done in co-operation or consultation with the RSL.”

The Australian Festivals Association has branded any proposal to ban music festivals on Anzac Day a “complete overreach.”

In a social post, the trade body adds: “Allowing people to go to the pub and play two-up yet not attend a music festival shows the NSW government’s priorities are completely out of line with the community.”

Music festivals “contribute to culture and community,” the message continues. “We are committed to work with NSW government so festivals can respectfully co-exist alongside these important commemorations.”

The ongoing “war on festivals must end,” the AFA pleads.

The premier’s office hasn’t walked back those comments on festivals, which do not appear in the government’s communiqué. The Music Network reached out to Minns’ team for clarification.

Minns’ comments come off the back of the Pandemonium Rocks controversy when the music event, scheduled for April 25 at The Domain, clashed with the Anzac Day March at nearby Hyde Park.

Veteran groups were incensed, as was Sydney talkback radio. Ultimately, the state government stepped in, forcing the fest to relocate.

Small businesses, are exempt from Minns’ proposed new trading hours, along with markets, cafes, chemists, news agencies and takeaway restaurants. Curiously, Anzac Day NRL matches will be unaffected.

“For Australians, no occasion could be more solemn or significant than Anzac Day,” Minns comments in a statement.

“As of next year, New South Wales will extend our retail trading restrictions across Anzac Day, to make sure our veterans are recognised and free to take part in services throughout the day. 

“It might be inconvenient for a few hours, but closing our biggest corporate shops for a single day is a small price to pay for living in a free and open democracy.” 

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