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Aussie Festival Supergroup Throws Down Gauntlet To NSW Government Over New Regulations

Written by Emmy Mack on February 20, 2019

Late last year, Australia’s major festivals banded together to form the Australian Festival Association, an Avengers-like supergroup uniting to do battle against the evil forces of the NSW Government, its Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her complete condemnation of pill-testing and overall harsh proposed changes to music festival licensing.

Now, an even bigger supergroup consisting of not just the AFA, but also Music NSW, APRA AMCOS, Live Performance Australia and the Live Music Office is calling for a mighty halt to the state Liberal regime’s music festival licensing changes.

The musical coalition reviewed the draft regulations put forward by the government and has given them a big fat thumbs down.

“As they stand, the new regulations will put festivals, events and live music in our cities, regional and remote communities under real threat,” the group concludes.

Despite the regulations being due to be slapped into place on March 1, the AFA argues that they are “still incomplete and make reference to risk assessment tools and interim guidelines that are still not available for review”.

“We are deeply concerned the NSW Government is rushing ahead with a new license regime without proper industry consultation and careful consideration of the operational and economic impact of these changes,” their statement continues.

The AFA has previously slammed the government for carelessly bull-rushing these measures in, without consulting anyone in the industry that it actually affects, in their rabid haste to take “tough” action, an approach that worked out well for everyone last time they pulled it with the lockout laws, right?

Managing director for Fuzzy (who run Habourlife, Field Day and Listen Out) Adelle Robinson has told triple J’s Hack that she was one of just two festival organisers invited to provide feedback to an expert panel, which was convened by Berejiklian to help shape policy on festival safety (the other one was from country music event CMC Rocks).

It should be noted that said panel contained zero representatives from the actual music industry but did contain a rep from the government’s own Office of Liquor & Gaming.

Robinson also claims that she was given just five minutes to provide recommendations and feedback to this panel.

“I think there should have been further consultation from a wider, wider spectrum of the festival community,” Adelle said.

Today, the AFA and co. has marched into the Premier’s Department to demand the following:

  1. The impending Music Festival Licence regulation must be delayed until further industry consultation has taken place
  2. The government undertakes a full Regulatory Impact Statement to examine and consider the impacts this will have on regional communities, our significant festival industry, the music industry and the broader community
  3. The government acknowledges the significant social, cultural and economic contribution music festivals make to NSW by working closely with the Australian Festivals Association and other relevant music bodies to develop viable, effective and evidence-based safety protocols for festivals
  4. To ensure that emergency service costs borne by events are negotiated well ahead of time, and are consistent across NSW events.

They’ve also noted that NSW is currently Australia’s largest market for contemporary music and music festivals in Australia, generating $325 million in revenue for the NSW economy with 6 million attendees each year.

The coalition requested that Gladys Berejiklian herself and any other relevant ministers be there for the meeting, but at the time of their press statement, only staff advisers had confirmed their attendance.

It comes as thousands prepare to hit the streets for tomorrow night’s Don’t Kill Live Music Rally in Hyde Park, which ICYMI has just unveiled a stacked lineup of performers & speakers including Hottest 100 toppers Ocean Alley and The Rubens, as well as the likes of Cloud ControlDan SultanOlympiaUrthboy and more.

Catch yas there.

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