Live Music Lobby Group Have “Lost Faith” In Minister’s Ability To Deliver Reform

Melbourne live music industry lobby group Save Live Australia’s Music (SLAM) have accused Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy of dragging his feet on promised reforms to the live music scene.

In a statement today the music lobby group said the music community had “lost faith” in the Minister due to his inaction on implementing the promised Agent of Change Principle to help protect live music venues and musicians livelihoods.

“The Minister promised to ‘work over the summer period’. We’re now in deep Winter and still the government has delivered nothing,” said SLAM spokesperson, Helen Marcou. “In the seven months since that promise to Parliament, the Minister for Planning has failed to deliver. We’ve been patient with the government and this Minister for Planning – but no longer.”

During the final sitting of parliament for 2013, Minister Guy was emphatic about rescuing Melbourne’s live music scene from increasingly troublesome noise complaints affecting venues like The Bendigo Hotel, who last year faced court over the complaints of one local resident.

Minister Guy said in a statement that he was “disappointed” with SLAM’s comments and urged them to be more positive towards the government’s actions. “We are working on reforms that will respond to challenges the industry is facing and ensure important issues such as housing affordability and building standards are responsibly addressed,” he said.

“I’ve been working with [Planning Minister Ryan] Smith and [Liquor & Gaming Minister Edward] O’Donohue and we have an appropriate process in place through which we are working with groups such as Music Victoria and SLAM to reach this outcome shortly.”

According to, music industry body Music Victoria have been invited by the Minister’s office to review that latest proposal for live music reform this Friday and hope the reforms will be finalised soon.

However SLAM say the state government has been “asleep at the wheel” in putting the Agent of Change in effect and the live music scene has been suffering under Matthew Guy’s watch. “Overall, the music industry has a pretty good working relationship with the state government, including the deregulation of all ages gigs, and the penning of the Live Music Practice Guide, but not with this Minister for Planning,” said Marcou.

“He’s smooth with words but short on action. He’s letting everyone down – the music industry, the music loving public, residents, and he’s embarrassing his Ministerial colleagues,” she added.

The statement comes as Melbourne venue Cherry Bar is appealing to patrons to help it survive by pitching in for half of the $90,000 cost of soundproofing works after a 12-storey apartment block moved in next door.

“It really is not fair that the venue has to pay for this soundproofing,” owner James Young told the Herald Sun. “It should be the developers’ cost. And it’s not fair that we have to turn to the cash-strapped public and ask for their help to contribute half of our building costs.”

“But as it stands agent of change doesn’t count for (anything). As soon as we get a single complaint we are in breach and could be shut down. We have no protection and we decided we just had to bite the bullet and pay for the works.”

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