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Industry Heralds World-First Live Music Reforms

Written by Tom Williams on September 8, 2014

Last week, Victoria’s live music scene welcomed the implementation of Agent of Change laws, which will better protect venues from noise complaints by new residential developers. According to triple j, the laws were finally passed this morning, and members of the music industry have praised the changes as overwhelmingly positive and “unprecedented around the world”.

Prior to the implementation of the Agent Of Change laws, the responsibility for building-in expensive soundproofing was placed on live music venues. Now, the onus will fall on residential developers to pay for noise mitigation measures when developing near existing live music venues in Victoria.

Music Victoria chairman Patrick Donovan has explained the benefits of the new laws to triple j, and suggested why they’re a welcome change. “It’s unprecedented around the world. In the case of Victoria’s 500 live music venues, if an apartment is built next door, one minute the venue is in compliance [with state noise restriction laws], and the next minute they’re out of compliance through no fault of their own,” Donovan said.

“Under this new law, the developers will be paying to fix that problem. This was the right thing to do,” Donovan added, before outlining the law as a “win-win” situation. “We argue it’s a win-win for residents and the music industry,” Donovan said. “It means that apartments have to be attenuated properly and that residents who want to live in the inner city can turn the culture off when they want to by simply closing their door.”

Helen Macrou of Save Live Australian Music (SLAM) added that it’s not only bars and clubs which will be protected under the new Victorian laws. “There are all sorts of venues protected under this law,” Macrou said. “Community halls and rehearsal studios where bands go to emulate live performances are protected as well, not just pubs bars and clubs. The impact of encroachment has really affected a lot of our cultural venues. All of these come under the agent of change principle now. It’s a huge deal for the sector.”

Victoria’s new Agent Of Change reform legislation can be read in full via this link.

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