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NSW Government to require licensing of music festivals after drug deaths
Following a series of drug deaths and overdoses, the NSW Government is to introduce regulations that will require music festivals to be licensed.
The move, that will see event organisers have to apply for a specific liquor licence, similar to those for pubs and clubs, follows the death of five young people of suspected drug overdoses attending music festivals in recent months.
Following this festival an expert panel was convened to advise the government on how to keep people safe at music festivals.
Following the deaths of 23-year-old Joseph Pham and 21-year-old Diana Nguyen after attending the Defqon.1 festival last September, an expert panel was convened to advise the NSW Government on how to keep people safe at music festivals.
Based on the recommendation from the panel, from March organisers will have to apply for a specific liquor licence for each music festival they hold which is targeted to the risks of the event.
Each application will need to be approved by a panel of experts, envisaged to include NSW Health, NSW Police, NSW Ambulance and Liquor and Gaming NSW, before a licence can be issued.
In a statement, NSW Minister for Racing, Paul Toole advised “festival organisers will need to ensure their events meet high safety standards.”
The regime will put the onus on organisers to assess and proactively manage safety risks.
Minister Toole added “events with a poor track record and heightened risk will face greater oversight from authorities.”
While the licensing plans are yet to be finalised, interim measures are already in place including ‘chill-out zones’ staffed with doctors, nurses and paramedics to help festivalgoers who feel unwell.
Organisers will also be required to provide free water stations to ensure people are properly hydrated.
The new scheme will come into force from 1st March with more details to be announced.
There have been growing calls for the New South Wales and Victorian premiers Gladys Berejiklian and Daniel Andrews to allow pill testing at music festivals.
On Friday, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians joined the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners as well as the former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Palmer in calling for pill testing to be allowed at festivals.
18th January 2019 - Leading medical body calls for pill testing trials at Australian festivals
19th September 2018 - NSW Premier announces panel to look into drug issues at music festivals
16th September 2018 - NSW Premier vows to ban Sydney music festival after drug deaths
11th December 2017 - ‘Insufficient evidence’ to prosecute Falls Festival organiser over crowd crush
2nd January 2017 - Falls Festival organisers defend safety record
2nd October 2016 - More than 100 drug arrests at Sydney Listen Out festival
17th August 2016 - Eventbrite research shows Australians love festivals
4th January 2016 - NSW Premier Baird threatens to shut down festivals over drug use
3rd January 2016 - WA Health issues drug and alcohol warning to summer festival fans
6th December 2015 - Another festival death at Adelaide Stereosonic music event
29th November 2015 - Woman dies at Sydney Stereosonic music festival as 70 face drug charges
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