News August 28, 2019

NSW music festival inquiry calls for new regulations to be scrapped

NSW music festival inquiry calls for new regulations to be scrapped
Image: Mountain Sounds Festival

A report released at an ongoing inquiry into festival regulation in NSW has called for the state government’s controversial festival licence regime to be scrapped.

The report has called on the regulations on music festivals, which have seen multiple festivals go bottom-up since the start of 2019, to be disallowed by the NSW parliament.

The NSW Labor opposition has released a statement, backing the report and supporting calls for an industry roundtable to be established immediately.

Criticism from the industry has largely focussed on the government’s strict licensing regulations being put in place without due process or consultation with industry stakeholders.

“I welcome this report and its findings. Labor supports the recommendations,” said Labor Shadow Minister for Music John Graham.

“I call on the Government to immediately establish a regulatory roundtable to work hand in hand with the industry.”

“These festivals will be safer if government and the industry work together. That hasn’t happened.”

“We don’t support the hastily developed music festival licence. It has done tremendous damage to music sector, here and around the country.”

The new report released through the inquiry since found that no government minister met with the industry and that regulations were distributed late on a Friday night one week before implementation.

Festivals affected by the new regulations were found to have been either notified by text message or not at all.

“Importantly, we need a new regime in place for the upcoming summer festival season. The government should meet with the industry to immediately get this in place,” said Shadow Minister Graham.

“Labor will offer its support to measures that are properly developed. Crucially we support the continuance of the NSW Health Guidelines for Music Festival Organisers: Music Festival Harm Reduction.”

, in conjunction with Australian Festival Association, Music NSW, APRA AMCOS and the Live Music Office, also welcomed the recommendations.

“We welcome the Regulation Committee’s recommendation to disallow the Music Festival Regulations, and its support for the immediate establishment of a Regulatory Roundtable comprising key government and industry stakeholders to chart a constructive way forward.

 “The industry’s aim has always been to work with government to develop a more workable regulatory approach to improving safety at festivals.

“The safety and enjoyment of festival goers is our top priority and we are now keen to engage in a collaborative and constructive partnership with Government agencies to develop and implement a regulatory regime which achieves this.”

The key findings and recommendations of the report released to the inquiry were:

  • The consultation process by the NSW government was inadequate for the implementation of the Liquor Amendment (Music Festivals) Regulation 2019 and the Gaming
    and Liquor Administration Amendment (Music Festivals) Regulation 2019 and that the two acts should be disallowed by the Legislative Council.
  • The NSW Health Guidelines for Music Festival Event Organisers: Music Festival Harm Reduction should continue to be developed to help address issues of drug and alcohol-related issues at festivals.
  • The NSW government should immediately establish a regulatory roundtable with key stakeholders from Liquor & Gaming NSW, police, industry representatives, local government and health-related/harm minimisation groups.

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