Officials from Liquor & Gaming NSW have responded to the “absolute tragedy” of a teenager’s death after attending a dance festival on the weekend, and confirmed a new license will begin operating from early 2019 to try ensure other lives aren’t lost.
A teenager died and three other youngsters were hospitalised from apparent drug overdoses (their conditions were reportedly downgraded from critical to stable) after attending the Knockout Games of Destiny in Sydney on Saturday night.
The fatality follows two deaths at the Defqon.1 music festival in October, after which the NSW government introduced a raft of new penalties intended to punish drug dealers. Under Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the government also established a “high level expert panel,” a type of think-tank to provide advice and report on how to make music festivals safer while eliminating the “scourge of illegal drugs.”
As part of its review into the music festival industry, government sought participation in a so-called “stakeholder forum” in late November which would allow authorities to “refine the design” of its music festival licence model.
Through a collaborative approach with stakeholders, the Liquor & Gaming NSW has developed a new music festival license. “We are now acting on the panel’s recommendations,” says a spokesman for the agency, confirming the new licence “will begin operating early in the new year.”
As previously reported, the new licensing regime will include detailed safety management plans with measures targeted to the specific risks of each festivals, based on feedback from event organisers and licensees. “It will ensure a consistent approach and cover liquor, health and policing measures,” the Liquor & Gaming NSW spokesman explains.
Following the latest apparent drug-related casualty, Berejiklian doubled down on her government’s hardline stance on pill testing, saying it gave party-goers a “green light to take substances”.