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News October 23, 2023

Music Industry Welcomes NSW Gov’t Promise to Cut Night-Life Red Tape With ‘Vibrancy Bills’

Music Industry Welcomes NSW Gov’t Promise to Cut Night-Life Red Tape With ‘Vibrancy Bills’

New South Wales’ live entertainment space got a shot of vibrancy late last week with the introduction of bills which its champions hope will encourage a “thriving, accessible, safe, diverse and exciting” night life.

An initiative of the Minns Labor Government, the so-called Vibrancy Bills were tabled in Parliament last Thursday (Oct. 19), coinciding with the inaugural South By South West Sydney.

The reforms are essentially an untangling of a bureaucratic mess created and dumped by successive, previous administrations, the outcome of which is a streamline system which should “put the age of lockouts and over-regulation behind us.”

Progress has a cost.

The NSW government is spending upwards of $58 million in 2023-24 on facilitating this campaign, and will be looking for co-funding from the hospitality and entertainment sector.

As it stands, seven agencies accept noise complaints. The government’s proposed changes will would create a single source for handling noise complaints against licensed venues — the Liquor & Gaming NSW.

Also, the new measures would create “higher hurdles” imposed for those complaints to progress, and no recourse for a single complainant to close venues.

Gone are the days when a single killjoy could shut down a venue leaking music.

Also, reads a statement from state government, the “order of occupancy” would be made a “central consideration” in disturbance complaints where new arrivals in a neighbourhood try to punish established venues.

The changes will be delivered through six areas of reform: Sensible venue sound management; vibrant, coordinated precincts; an activated outdoors; Empowering the 24-hour economy commissioner to deliver a sustainable, thriving night-time economy; and licensing and improving the night-time sector for workers.

“The Vibrancy package is a whole of government priority,” comments deputy premier and minister for Western Sydney Prue Car, “and we expect to deliver the initial reforms ahead of summer so that venues have the chance to respond and communities, including those in western Sydney, will have more options for music and live entertainment.”

NSW Labor

John Graham

Existing legislation will be amended to support the NSW Government’s Vibrancy Reforms, including the Liquor Act 2007, the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, the Local Government Act 1993, and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Initial reforms are expected to be delivered ahead of summer, and a new Bill will be introduced for the statutory appointment of the 24-hour economy commissioner.

“As a government we know we need to change the laws in this state to value music, to value creativity, to support community and to bring back vibrancy,” comments minister for music and the night-time economy John Graham.

“We need to change the rules in the planning and liquor laws to save the music and cultural venues we have, and to build more. We need to change the rules around outdoor and street activation so that music, culture and entertainment can spill outdoors.”

And, he adds, we especially need to change the rules for sound and noise complaints that allow a single neighbour to make serial complaints to close a long running venue they have just moved in next to.”

Annabelle Herd

ARIA and PPCA welcomed the plans.

“We thank the NSW government for continuing to commit to creating an environment where contemporary music can thrive and realise its true potential as a cultural and economic contributor,” comments the trade bodies’ CEO Annabelle Herd.

“The removal of red tape that has suppressed NSW’s capacity to deliver a world-class live entertainment offering is a major step toward retuning the state to its former glory as a hotbed for fostering up-and-coming talent and connecting them with new fans.”

Car, Graham, minister for planning and public spaces Paul Scully, the 24-hour commissioner Michael Rodrigues and other stakeholders hosted a briefing last Thursday to present the reforms.

Rodrigues and Emily Collins, interim head of Sound NSW, hosted a separate information session for media on Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 24) in central Sydney.

Read more here

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