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News October 1, 2019

The music industry is ready to build new a ‘truly global’ Sydney

The music industry is ready to build new a ‘truly global’ Sydney

The music industry has a message for NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian: Just say the word, and we’ll start building the vibrant 24-hour global city that Sydney should be.

This came in the wake of the release of a report by the Joint Select Committee on Sydney’s Night Time Economy and 40 recommendations.

ARIA chief executive Dan Rosen welcomed the suggestion to roll back the lockout laws, initially in the central business district.

“The Australian music industry flourishes when there is a healthy night-time economy, and we look forward to seeing how Sydney will benefit from a new approach,” he said.

Tyson Koh of the Keep Sydney Open Party called the sweeping recommendations “the result of years spent plugging away at our message, working with stakeholders and remaining focused on our goal.

“When something’s not right, it’s always worth speaking up — no matter how hopeless it may seem. Never forget the power we have as a community!”

During their testimonies to the inquiry, Emily Collins of Music NSW and the Electronic Music Conference director Jane Slingo were among those who made the point that the revitalisation of Sydney’s night-time was a real possibility, and that the landscape has changed so much in the last five years that a new exhilaratingly cool city could be created which all the stakeholders can contribute towards.

The ensuing debate would be fascinating, to say the least.

Also at the hearings, APRA AMCOS chief executive Dean Ormston reiterated a call for tax incentives for investment in NSW music, similar to that of the film industry.


But Keep Sydney Open is emphatic that it is essential for the lockouts to be also lifted in Kings Cross rather than wait for a promised government review in 12 or 24 months.

Michael Rodrigues, chair of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA agrees: “As long as lockouts are in place in Kings Cross, Sydney’s global brand reputation will be unnecessarily tarnished.”

The report’s explanation was that Kings Cross hasn’t cleaned up enough, and it felt the assaults would rise considerably if the laws were lifted.

The post-lockouts discussion made it to last night’s music industry episode on ABC-TV’s Q&A.

Tex Perkins offered a solution: set up your own spaces to showcase creativity the way the Brisbane scene overcame lack of venues in the early ‘80s, when he started playing.

L-FRESH The Lion admitted, “It’s a real challenge and I don’t have an answer. But at BIGSOUND, 75—80% of the hip hop acts that played were from western Sydney – but in western Sydney, there’s no place for them to play.”

Coincidentally, last month the Western Sydney Business Chamber offered a five-point plan on revitalising the live economy called The Show Must Go On,

Among the ideas was a fund set up by councils and private donations from which emerging venues and artists could apply to draw from for capital and programming; and for the state and councils to conduct a census to get the specific nature of the challenges and strengths.

While the recommendation in yesterday’s parliamentary report), to scrap the lockouts in the central business district with “appropriate urgency” got all the media headlines, it actually called for a massive restructuring of the whole night-time economy to bring in families and tourists.

At the crux, the report said, “Crucially, Sydney’s nightlife should be experience-based, not reliant on alcohol.”

The 40 recommendations included later trading hours for businesses, better late-night transport and street lighting, the introduction of the Agent of Change, the possible creation of entertainment precincts and “innovative methods for patron safety.”

Measures discussed to promote diversity include “supporting our cultural institutions to provide more late-night offerings”, “innovative ways to use vacant and occupied spaces” and “making small bars a more attractive licensed venue business model.”

Committee chair, Natalie Ward of the Liberals, took the view that Sydney needed to capitalise on the $16 billion of night- time activity it was missing out on.

“Australia only has one truly global city and that is Sydney,” Ward said.

“We have the best city, the best harbour and the best offering.”

“Melbourne might think it is in the race, but it absolutely is not; it is Sydney, so it is important that we reflect that in our night-time economy.”


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