November 12, 2021

NSW Opposition pushes to undo ‘war on music’

NSW Opposition pushes to undo ‘war on music’

The NSW Labor party is pushing ahead with a quest to offer more support to the live music sector.

The Opposition is seeking changes in the form of the Customer Service Legislation Amendment Bill 2021. The changes would allow for musicians to use loading zones and expand late trading provisions for dedicated music venues beyond just the City of Sydney.

In addition, the party is looking to implement the recommendations arising from the review of the Music Festivals Act 2019, including removing language around “high risk” festivals.

The Labor party contended this language has been used to target certain events and genres, and doesn’t serve ad a useful definition or category.

“This has been a huge hurdle for the festival sector and the way that Government engages with the industry,” shadow minister for music and the night time economy, John Graham, said.

“The ‘high risk’ terminology was introduced by the Government before the last state election as part of its war on music.”

Today’s NSW Parliamentary debate will also cover music loading zones, with Labor saying many musicians are unable to access loading zones or are at risk of being fined when loading equipment in and out of venues.

The Opposition said the state should explicitly allow musicians to use loading zones, as was recommended in the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Music and Arts Economy.

Graham said the measure is crucial to getting musicians back to work.

“It is tough enough playing music already. The last thing a hard-working band wants it a parking ticket under the windscreen wiper,” he said.

Labor is also seeking to expand provisions that allow dedicated live music and performance venues to extend their trading hours, with a focus not just on those venues within the City of Sydney. It said this was all part of its agenda to support live music, the night time economy and alfresco dining across metropolitan and regional NSW, not just the Sydney CBD.