News March 26, 2021

Live sector hails NSW Govt’s ‘vital’ $24m lifeline for music venues

Live sector hails NSW Govt’s ‘vital’ $24m lifeline for music venues

The live sector applauded a new $24 million package to support live music across the state.

The funds are part of a larger $51.5 million economic package from the NSW Government, designed to encourage people back into the Sydney CBD, and support jobs in the accommodation, entertainment and tourism sectors.

“Everyone has missed live music, the industry is coming out of hibernation, and this package will ensure our much-loved venues are there to host the gigs people want to see as they celebrate NSW emerging from the pandemic,” Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres said.

APRA AMCOS and MusicNSW responded with relief that the lifeline came in time for venues.

The two associations, along with Live Music Office and Save our Stages NSW have been among those lobbying for support, meeting with Ayres, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, Arts Minister Don Harwin and Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello.

“This package, together with the regulatory reform last year, put the music industry in the front seat to help NSW emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than before,” Dean Ormston said, CEO of APRA AMCOS.

“This funding will ensure the vital cultural and economic infrastructure of live music venues aren’t lost to generations of audiences across NSW.”

Ormston noted that continual border closures and social distancing regulations in NSW has made a restart virtually impossible, and APRA AMCOS data shows that live music has been operating at less than 4% of pre-COVID times.

“APRA AMCOS and the Live Music Office worked intensely with the NSW government in 2020 to overhaul the regulatory framework that was one of the worst in Australia for our sector to properly operate,” he said.

“The reforms in NSW are now viewed as global best practice for activating safe night time economies with live music and cultural activity at their heart.

“Research shows that live music provides $16 billion worth of economic, cultural and social benefit to the nation, with every dollar spent on live music providing three dollars’ worth of benefits returned to the wider community.”

MusicNSW’s view is that this lifeline “narrowly averted” the crisis that 85% of venues were facing after JobKeeper ends on Sunday, and also “is a powerful acknowledgement of the vital role live music plays in the lives of the people of NSW,” managing director Emily Collins said.

“This package also acknowledges the importance of these businesses in the live music ecosystem, and the acute impact that the pandemic has had on venues in particular.

“The $24 million package will help set the industry on the path to recovery, after more than 12 months of uncertainty and upheaval caused by the pandemic.”

“The venues in this state have been through so many challenges, but they have continued to show incredible resilience and true grit.

“(The) announcement is testament to this, and a heartening sign for ongoing collaborations between government and the music industry.

“When live music is able to return in full force, you can thank the NSW government that the venues we know and love will still be standing, and that is very good news.”

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