Labor’s win in the Western Australian elections could bode well for live music. New Premier Mark McGowan has announced his intention to cut red tape, create a $3 million Creative Music Fund and redevelop the WA Art Gallery’s rooftop.
In 2006, as Racing and Gaming Minister, Mr McGowan oversaw a reformation of WA’s liquor laws.
This included the creation of a small bar licence category and giving restaurants more flexibility to serve alcohol without food.
Now, Mr McGowan wants to cut red tape standing in the way of non-traditional spaces hosting pop-ups and micro-festivals. The proposed changes would make it easier for established venues to run off-premise bars and provide opportunities for the activation of laneways, streets and parks.
In addition, the Liquor Control Act would be amended, through the creation of a new assessment category, based on public interest. In other words, venues would be able, in part, to apply for licenses on the basis of their contribution to tourism, culture and/or community.
Mr McGowan said, ‘As Premier, I will build on the success of the small bar reforms and make Western Australia an even more exciting and vibrant place to live. We will facilitate micro-festivals across the State by cutting red tape for established hotels, taverns, small bars, arts and culture venues.’
He added that the amendments would ‘create a level playing field on licence arrangements’ and give businesses opportunities to expand. ‘Every week, thousands of Western Australians attend events across the state, pumping money into our economy and generating jobs. By providing additional support to the arts and creative industries sector and targeted areas, the industry can continue to expand, helping grow our economy.’
There are also plans to give the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority the task of developing and managing new live music venues. Existent government buildings might be turned into creative hubs, similar to Saint Paul’s Creative Centre in Adelaide.
Meanwhile, the Art Gallery of Western Australia can look forward to a $10 million redevelopment of its rooftop, which is to be transformed into a cultural and commercial space, and a $3 million Creative Music Fund will help musicians and music industry figures to build links nationally and internationally.