NSW Labor Pledges $103M In Pre-Election ‘Fresh Start’ For Music Industry
The music industry of New South Wales spoke, the opposition has responded with a vision that checks many of those boxes, unwinds red tape and promises upwards of $100 million in funding — should the polls go in its favour.
Speaking at a media gathering midday Wednesday (Feb. 22) in Sydney’s The Lansdowne, NSW Labor leader Chris Minns and a lineup of party officials proposed a multi-tiered strategy to help the contemporary music scene return to its former glory.
The bottom line of Labor’s plan for music is a commitment to invest $103 million in the music space.
The opposition party wouldn’t throw that money at a wall.
Its funding pledge includes the establishment of a contemporary music office, Sound NSW, to work with industry and power the development of contemporary music in the state.
Another priority for the funding is a strategy for “bringing back lost venues,” which, a statement reads, which would go some way to “repair the damage from a decade of venue closures under the NSW Liberals.”
Over the next four years, the NSW Labor vision for live venues includes a push for longer trading hours and lower licence fees; examining the expansion of the heritage air space scheme to save key spaces; provide funding of up to $250,000 to consider and study prospects for four permanent outdoor festival and concert infrastructure in Sydney and regional NSW; establish a $8 million Vivid Venues fund to support soundproofing, and more.
I've gotta admit, I didn't have playing guitar with William Crighton on my campaign bucket list.— Chris Minns (@ChrisMinnsMP) February 22, 2023
But that's exactly what happened today as we launched our plan to bring back live music in NSW! pic.twitter.com/t0C27zl7Qn
“Labor will deliver a “fresh start for NSW music,” Minns states.
His party, Minns continues, “has a comprehensive plan to support our creative industries. We want to set up our state for the long term, backing the jobs of the future in our creative sectors.”
Performers at the launch function included KLP, Ngaiire, William Crighton and others.
“It’s this incredible culture of fostering and backing live music in our state that we’ll bring back,” he tweeted.
Sound NSW would sit within Create NSW as part of this “fresh start,” and would be modelled on Screen NSW and have its own board. Priorities for funding would be developed by Sound NSW.
“Labor believes that the music sector should be supported in the same way the screen sector has been,” notes John Graham, NSW Shadow Minister for Music and the Night Time Economy.
“This will mean jobs and growth and will let us tell NSW stories long into the future.”
Graham has skin in the game. He formed Labor Loves Live Music in 2012 to call on councils to enact planning controls that promote live music and to protect existing venues from vexatious complaints.
Two years later, the city’s live music sector was shafted by the lockout laws, resulting in the reported closure of 176 music venues and a 40% drop in live music revenue.
Matters didn’t get any better under successive Liberal governments, and, in March 2020, a full-blown crisis arrived with the pandemic.
NSW Labor’s plan will be music to the ears for the industry, which days earlier had pitched a $100 million action plan, which would “stabilise and grow” the state’s music industry.
A united front of companies, industry organisations and leaders presented a strategy, split into three pillars, which include the establishment of a Contemporary Music Office in NSW government to drive music development; “significant” government investment in artists, and industry initiatives; and the protection and building of venues, festivals and spaces to make NSW “a proud home of music.”
APRA AMCOS, ARIA and PPCA have applauded NSW Labor’s pre-election commitment.
“This strong focus on the contemporary music industry in NSW is a very welcome commitment from a major party,” comments Annabelle Herd, CEO of ARIA and PPCA.
“Ahead of the election, it is vital that all parties recognise the huge cultural and economic potential that music can offer the state, provided it is given considered support. We urge all parties to follow suit so music in NSW can flourish.”
This election commitment “is historic,” notes Dean Ormston, CEO of APRA AMCOS.
“This level of investment will put NSW on par with some of the great music jurisdictions of the world; Quebec Canada, Liverpool England and Seoul South Korea.”
The state, he continues, “is a key engine room for the nation’s music industry and the launching pad for so many of Australia’s extraordinary artists. Despite this, it has long been the victim of over-zealous regulations and a long-held misunderstanding of the economic, social and cultural value we give to the state.”
The ball is now in the court of the Perrottet government, which has done little to sway the creative community before millions head to the polls on March 25.