Labor loves music, and it’s willing to bet big when the NSW state elections roll around next March.
That’s the message from NSW Labor, which today endorsed, in principle, the recommendations of a year-long inquiry into the music and arts economy and threw its support behind the state’s music venues.
Opposition leader Michael Daley and his team called a media gathering this morning in Sydney and let music play its policy tune.
Labor also kicked the Berejiklian Liberal government’s controversial stadium’s rebuild plans into touch, using the argument the money could be better spent on fixing the live music “crisis,” an issue brought into focus by the Legislative Council’s long-awaited report.
A month has passed since the 351-pageMusic & Arts Economy In New South Wales report dropped online.
Daley and his team have already studied the findings, and, on Wednesday, party officials fired off at the Liberals for spending less than $1 million each year on music, roughly the equivalent of 60 seats in the rebuilt $730 million Sydney Football Stadium.
“We need to put the verve back into Sydney’s night life,” Daley says, promising to “carefully look” at the Parliamentary inquiry’s recommendations in the months ahead and backed a handful of points as part of its “commitment to revitalise” the NSW night economy.
-Introducing legislation to sweep away the historical liquor licence conditions that restrict genres of music, the number of musicians who take the stage, the instruments they play and the direction in which they face.
-Creating a music development hub that co-locates the Music Development Office, contemporary music organisations and businesses, rehearsal and performance space, community radio, writing and recording studios and a youth venue (with options examined to include Sydenham);
-Simplifying the noise complaints and planning processes;
-Directly funding the sector;
-Developing and releasing a Plan for Contemporary Music within 100 days of being elected; and
-Introducing live music venue liquor licences.
During a keynote address at last month’s Global Cities After Dark pow-wow, John Graham, member of NSW Parliament’s Upper House, noted NSW was facing “a music venue crisis in a sector with huge potential.”
Today 669 venues across the state have bans or restrictions on entertainment in their liquor licences and, in many cases, entertainment was restricted by taste and, at times bizarre, rules.
John Graham, Shadow Minister for Music and the Night Time Economy, took matters further.
“In the 1984 movie Footloose, two things were banned: dancing and rock music,” he said Wednesday.
“Currently NSW has bans or restrictions in venues on dancing and rock music. It also has bans or restrictions on live music, disco, DJs, drumming, four piece bands, singer songwriters, the bass guitar, vinyl records, bands facing in a direction other than south and mirror balls.
“Labor will introduce legislation to remove these archaic restrictions in a single go, as was the case in South Australia.”
Daley Labor’s full music policy won’t be published until sometime prior to the election, which is scheduled for March 23, 2019.
Lars Brandle has reported at the frontline of the international music industry for almost 20 years. A former musician, Lars joined the American music trade “bible” Billboard in 2000 and went on to serve as Global News Editor, based in London. Now Billboard’s Australia correspondent and senior writer with The Industry Observer, Lars’ voice has been heard on CNN, the BBC and ABC, American Public Media's Marketplace and South Africa's EastCoast Radio, and he has spoken at Midem in Cannes, Music Matters in Singapore, Amsterdam Dance Event, London's City Showcase and at industry gatherings on both sides of the Tasman. His works have been published by Reuters, Media Week, Spin, and The Hollywood Reporter, and he has featured as a pundit in the Australian Financial Review, Business Review Weekly and Britain’s The Independent.