Live industry welcomes reforms aimed at ‘reviving NSW’s music scene’
Music venues across New South Wales can now operate with an additional hour of trading, following the passing of new laws aimed at reactivating the live entertainment sector.
State parliament on Tuesday (Nov. 16) untangled some of the red tape that’s hindering an industry already punished by the pandemic.
Among the reforms is an additional 60 minutes trading for liquor licences at dedicated live music and performance venues, while musicians will be allowed able to use loading zones for the transportation of equipment and instruments without the fear of a fine or tow.
Also, parliamentarians agreed to scrub the reference of “high-risk” in connection to music festivals, a term which promoters have said was a death sentence for the festivals landscape.
APRA AMCOS Chief Executive Dean Ormston welcomed the reforms as “real and tangible incentives that will support not just the survival of existing live music venues in NSW but also encourage more live music activity across the state.”
The development comes on the heels of regulatory overhauls that were ushered through parliament in November 2020, which included provisions to establish special entertainment precincts, removal of entertainment conditions and exempt development for low impact live entertainment.
“We applaud the NSW Government which has yet again delivered regulatory reforms to incentivise the presentation of live music to support the revival of central business districts, metropolitan and regional centres throughout the state as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” adds Ormston.
APRA AMCOS and the Live Music Office had advocated for the unwinding of “complex and unnecessary” barriers to presenting live music.
These further reforms, says Ormston, “are a testament to the commitment of the NSW Government and the Opposition in reviving NSW’s music scene for artists and the audiences that love live music.”
Dedicated live music and performance venues will now be granted an additional hour in trading to encourage live music and cultural activity…https://t.co/BTHxLSZf6X— APRA AMCOS (@APRAAMCOS) November 17, 2021
The controversial “high-risk” terminology had been rolled out and applied to a handful of events and brands from March 1st, 2019, following a spate of drug related deaths at outdoors shows.
An initial list of 14 festivals were tarred with the “high-risk” brush, included the national Laneway Festival, Lost Paradise and Days Like.
An alliance of music industry bodies, including the Australian Festival Association, Music NSW, Live Performance Australia, APRA AMCOS and the Live Music Office, had advocated for its removal and replacement with a more “appropriate term,” due to its negative connotations and potential damage to brands.
John Wardle of the Live Music Office says his organisation is “thrilled” at these latest round of reforms.
“Parking tickets for musicians unable to access loading zones is an ever present risk for industry workers, and where a night’s pay can be lost by loading essential equipment in and out venues,” he notes.
The provision for musicians to use loading zones has been a long-term campaign for the Live Music Office.
“Having it now legislated is an Australian first,” he adds, “and we will be seeking to have similar approaches investigated around the country.”
In related news, urban policy think tank Committee for Sydney today published six key actions which could help reinvigorate Sydney’s events sector.
They are: Underwrite a reinsurance scheme covering communicable disease; remove density limits and create a clear, consistent roadmap; address labour shortages; targeted payments and seed funding; improve targeting of economic stimulus; and create a calendar of events with effective coordination of 1,000-plus scale events.
“The Sydney we know and love is roaring back, let’s make sure the city’s buzzing events scene is bang in the middle of that recovery,” comments Matt Levinson, Director Corporate Affairs at the Committee for Sydney.
The action plan is published in the paper Six actions to get Sydney’s events sector back on track, which follows consultation with reps of event organisers and touring companies, sporting codes, record labels, cultural institutions and more.
Read the paper here.
This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.