The Second NSW Parliamentary Inquiry Into The Music And Arts Economy – Update

Keep Sydney Open Rally 2017. Image Credit: Concrete Playground
Scarlett Di Maio
| June 6, 2018

Last week the second public hearing of the NSW Parliamentary inquiry into the music and arts economy was held in Sydney. Grassroots musicians, industry representatives and music advocates from across the state came together to ensure their voices were heard.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, figures from Liquor & Gaming NSW prove that 418 licensed premises had closed in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross since 2014 and John Graham, a Labor member of the parliamentary inquiry, said there had been a net loss of 176 venues since the introduction of lockout laws.

Many within the Sydney music community have blamed the venue losses on the state government imposing lockout laws in February 2014, which include a 1.30am lockout on inner city venues and a cease-service from 3am.

High profile artists and industry representatives like Isabella Manfredi of The Preatures, ARIA CEO Dan Rosen, Oxford Art Factory boss Mark Gerber, local electronic duo Set Mo (Nick Drabble and Stu Turner) and Keep Sydney Open co-ordinator Tyson Koh presented their findings on the inquiry as a united front in the Jubliee Room last week.

Other representatives included Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner, NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton as well as Luke Briscoe, Managing Director, Office & Industrial at AMP Capital, who addressed details on the ownership of The Basement, an iconic music establishment that was used as a secondary venue during Music Australia’s Contemporary Music Roundtable last year.

There was also an additional 418 inquiry submissions which are viewable online.

The first stage of the NSW Parliamentary inquiry into the music and arts took place 26 March, with high profile acts like Hoodoo Guru Dave Faulkner, Tim Levinson (aka Urthboy), Brooke McClymont of The McClymonts, APRA’s incoming CEO Dean Ormston and MusicNSW chairman Professor Julian Knowles among the speakers.

In some positive steps forward, the NSW government recently announced that the freeze on new liquor licences was lifted for venues which host live music (including DJ sets) in the CBD and Kings Cross, as of 1 June, 2018.

The Live Music Office has also helped secure exceptions for approximately 30 live and arts venues, where the lockout is now pushed back from 2am and the cease-serviced moved to 3.30am, as reported by The Industry Observer.

The NSW Parliamentary inquiry into the music and arts economy was originally established in November 2017 to inquire into and report on the music and arts economy in NSW.

Yesterday’s second public hearing of the NSW Parliamentary inquiry “again provided a unique and highly insightful forum into the inner workings of the music industry and the government bodies tasked with regulating or supporting the sector in one capacity or other, ” John Wardle, Director of the Live Music Office told The Industry Observer.

The parliamentary committee’s next round of hearings will be held on 3 July, though the location has yet to be confirmed. You can read a transcript of the second NSW Parliamentary inquiry into the music and arts economy by heading here.

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