Hello and welcome to NSW. The wacky state, where the government seems far more concerned with cracking down on mirror balls than it does with listening to scientific evidence that could actually save lives.
Yes, as Premier Gladys Berejiklian et. al. continue their impressive crusade to ignore every last shred of proof that pill testing works, they are also ploughing ahead with their new music festival licensing regime (commonly referred to as their “war on music festivals”).
Their battle strategy so far includes things like subjecting punters to degrading strip-searches, slapping festivals with a crippling new licensing scheme which they themselves admit is “confusing”, and refusing to chat with anyone from the actual music industry about ways to work together in the hopes of improving festival safety without, you know, obliterating every music festival in the state.
But it’s going to be harder to keep ignoring the industry now. That’s because submissions into a parliamentary inquiry into the new music festival regulations have just gone public, and it’s official: literally everyone reckons the government’s new policy is cooked, except the government.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore explains: “Out of almost 40 publicly available submissions to the inquiry into the NSW Government’s new rules for music festivals, the NSW Government was the only organisation to back their rushed regulations.
“Community groups and industry bodies, from the Australian Festivals Association and Music Australia, to Regional Arts NSW and the Illawarra Folk Club, are calling for the rules to be removed and for the industry to be properly consulted,” she continues. “They warn that festivals are already shutting down, with disastrous consequences for our cultural life and economy.
“Many submissions – including the City of Sydney’s – also called for a compassionate and evidence-based approach to drugs, through pill testing or other harm minimisation measures.”
Yep. We’ll just leave this here for you, Gladys:
You can read some of the public submissions into the parliamentary inquiry — from the likes of Live Performance Australia, Don’t Kill Live Music, and the Australian Festival Association — right here (City Of Sydney’s one hasn’t been published online by the state government yet).
Meanwhile, the hearing for this inquiry is set to go down on August 13th.