Australian Festival Association offers recommendations on licensing
The Australian Festival Association has warned the NSW government that the introduction of its new proposed Festival License and Interim Health Guidelines has been “too rushed”.
The organisation also says that not enough consultation or consideration has been given to the impacts on the industry as a whole.
The rush, it says, will also impact on “the operational capacity each government branch has to implement these changes”.
The association’s statement was made by board member Adelle Robinson, who is managing director of Fuzzy Events.
“Most significant changes to an industry like this would require a Regulatory Impact Statement to assess the real economic impact on an important cultural sector.”
The association points out, “Music festivals which are affected by these changes have an estimated combined audience of over 750,000 patrons and contribute millions of dollars to rural, regional and urban communities in NSW.
“Last minute conditions, increased user-pays police costs and liquor licenses that are issued less than 24 hours before an event have contributed to an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty for many event organisers.”
It has made a number of recommendations to make the new regime workable:
* Roll out the Music Festival License as a trial.
This would “ensure that the definition of a music festival can be applied evenly, that the risk matrix being used to assess events can be reviewed and so the real impact of these changes can be assessed for all genres of music festivals.”
* Maintain the fees for the Music Festival License in line with current Special Event licenses, to ensure the fee doesn’t result in a competitive advantage being given to concerts and other events.
* Roll out a comprehensive online portal which provides harm minimisation training for event staff, patrons and young people across NSW, to address the society-wide issue of drug use which resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 Australians in 2018.
* Open an offsite drug safety checking & education facility, to trial pill testing in a controlled environment that gives people access to a harm minimisation service with appropriate health intervention at any time, not just at music festivals.
To ensure that emergency service costs borne by events are negotiated ahead of time.
The AFA will host an industry forum on Friday, February 15 to discuss the above and encourage members and the industry to provide feedback and submissions to Liquor and Gaming and the Premier’s Department