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Image for NSW Music Festivals Facing Strict New Licensing Laws, Following DeathsPhoto: Nathan Bonnici / Supplied

NSW Music Festivals Facing Strict New Licensing Laws, Following Deaths

Written by Tom Williams on January 21, 2019

Music festivals in New South Wales are facing strict new licensing laws, due to a push for “high safety standards” following the deaths of five people at recent local events.

From 1st March, festival organisers will need to apply for a specific liquor license, similar to those for pubs and clubs, for each music festival they hold, AAP reports.

Each application will need to be approved by a panel of authorities, reportedly believed to include NSW Health, NSW Police, NSW Ambulance and Liquor and Gaming NSW.

The new regulations will supposedly see festival organisers face large fines or even jail time if their events are deemed unsafe.

“Festival organisers will need to ensure their events meet high safety standards,” Minister for Racing Paul Toole said in a statement.

“Events with a poor track record and heightened risk will face greater oversight from authorities.”

The new regulations are yet to be finalised, so interim measures have been introduced, including requirements for free water stations and “chill out zones” staffed with doctors, nurses and paramedics.

More details of the new regulations are still to be announced.

The new laws come after the NSW Government convened an ‘expert panel’ to advise it on how to keep people safe at music festivals, following the deaths of 23-year-old Joseph Pham and 21-year-old Diana Nguyen following suspected drug overdoses at Sydney’s Defqon.1 festival in September.

The regulations also follow renewed calls for pill testing to be introduced at Australian music festivals, after the death of 19-year-old Alex Ross-King following the Sydney leg of FOMO Festival earlier this month.

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