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Inquiry calls for scrapping of NSW festival licencing scheme

Inquiry calls for scrapping of NSW festival licencing scheme
August 28, 2019

A NSW Legislative Council Regulation Committee report from the ongoing inquiry into music festival regulations has called for the NSW Government’s controversial festival licence regime to be scrapped.

Released today, the Committee’s report has called on the regulations on music festivals, which have impacted multiple festivals since the start of 2019, to be disallowed by the NSW Parliament.

Widely criticised by the industry, the strict licensing regulations were put in place earlier this year, without consultation, after a succession of drug-related deaths at festivals.

The new report released through the inquiry found that no NSW 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.

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.

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

In a joint statement, the ‘Live Music Industry Alliance’ advised “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 statement also referred to how, at the hearing earlier this month, the committee heard from promoters and peak industry bodies on how the lack of industry consultation and the rushed introduction of these regulations had impacted the festival industry.

The motion to disallow these regulations has been tabled in the NSW Upper House pending the results of this inquiry. The alliance looks forward to working with Government to strike the right balance between safety, community, culture and a thriving economy for both live music festivals and audiences all over NSW.

Image: Mountain Sounds, cancelled earlier this year.

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19th July 2019 - NSW music festival deaths inquiry told trauma of strip-searches similar to that of sexual assaults

16th July 2019 - Music festival deaths inquest hears presence of Police dogs led to panicked drug-taking

16th July 2019 - NSW Government’s festival licensing scheme needs ‘complete overhaul’

1st July 2019 - Anti-terror costs forces cancellation of Murwillumbah Banana Festival

16th June 2019 - Five charged for supplying drugs at music festival at Sydney Olympic Park

30th May 2019 - Following 2018 drug deaths Defqon.1 festival now ‘postponed indefinitely’

13th May 2019 - Action on festival regulations welcomed by Live music industry coalition

25th March 2019 - Details emerge of disputes and dissatisfaction at 2018 Sydney Irish Festival

6th March 2019 - NSW music festivals get recognition at Australian Tourism Awards

28th February 2019 - Cancelled Mountain Sounds festival owes Eventbrite almost $900,000

27th February 2019 - New festival regulations threatens future of live music in NSW

23rd February 2019 - NSW Government list of ‘higher risk’ festivals dubbed a ‘fiasco’ by organisers and industry groups

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