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Victorian Government to deliver live music reforms

Victorian Government to deliver live music reforms
August 6, 2014

Long-awaited Victorian live music reforms are set to be introduced with the Victorian Government's announcement of a new Live Music Action Agenda.

The Agenda aims to provide increased protection to live music venues from noise complaints by new residential developments, as part of a package of reforms designed to support the Victorian live music industry.

Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy will be responsible for the changes to planning regulation that will enshrine the 'agent of change' principal in planning law. The changes will also create a $500,000 fund to help heritage venues become sound proof.

Under the revised rules, new developments, particularly those within 50 metres of a live music venue, will be responsible for footing the costs of sound-proofing themselves. 

Explaining this part of the Agenda, Minister Guy stated “new residential developments built near existing live music venues will be responsible for noise mitigation features as part of the planning process.

“This means beloved pubs and clubs that are home to live music in Victoria will not be forced to close due to noise complaints from those in new apartment buildings or new houses next door."  

The Live Music Action Agenda covers:

1. Licensing – new laws and streamlined licensing controls
2. Planning – updated Practice Note and new Particular Provision
3. Building – reducing the regulatory burden for smaller venues
4. Assistance Package – $500,000 Live Music Noise Attenuation Assistance Scheme
5. Environment and Noise – review of noise regulations

Victorian Gaming Regulation Edward O’Donohue said legislation will be introduced to the Parliament to require the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor to consider the agent of change principle when dealing with noise complaints.

Minister O’Donohue stated "(this) announcements follow a raft of changes we have already made to benefit live music. 

"Earlier this year we brought back alcohol-free underage and mixed-age live music events on licensed premises after a 20 year absence, as well as providing a further $150,000 in funding for the industry body, Music Victoria.”

“The ... Government is committed to supporting Victoria’s live music industry, building on our enviable reputation as a terrific place for musicians and music lovers alike.”

In planning, a new Practice Note will be issued to guide decision makers and ensure the agent of change is responsible for noise attenuation measures, while the introduction of a Particular Provision into the Victoria Planning Provisions will make it clear that the agent of change will be responsible for noise attenuation measures required to obtain planning approval.

In addition, a key red tape reduction measure introduced into the building system will ensure that live music venues smaller than 500 metres2 will no longer have to meet the same building code compliance measures as large venues.

Minister Guy added “by reducing the regulatory burden on live music businesses, the ... Government is ensuring the viability of this vital part of Victoria’s cultural mix. 

"We have effectively balanced the needs of the live music industry with those of residents and the broader community (with) by far and away the strongest planning regulatory reform in Australia that protects existing live music venues."

In a statement, lobby group Music Victoria welcomed the changes calling them “a big win for the music industry” but added that there are still some “important fine details” to work out, particularly regarding the protection of rehearsal studios from encroaching development.

Music Victoria Chief Executive Patrick Donovan stated “a lot of things that were broken have finally been fixed (although) unfortunately it is too late for some venues, like Cherry Bar, it looks like it has come in just in the nick of time for many other venues.”

Melbourne venue Cherry Bar recently raised $50,000 in 24 hours from a crowdfunding campaign where the live music loving public helped raise the necessary funds for costly soundproofing works and Thornbury venue Tago Mago held a recent benefit concert to also raise funds for soundproofing.

Live music generated an estimated $301 million in gross state product for the Victorian economy in 2009/10 and supported around 15,000 full-time jobs. 


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