Review finds no breaches of controversial NSW festival regulations

A number of recommendations have been made on how the NSW Government approaches music festivals

A recently-tabled report reviewing the New South Wales’ controversial ‘Music Festivals Act’ legislation recorded no breaches over the recent summer season.

“Of the nine high-risk music festivals held between 21 November 2019 and 30 April 2020, seven were inspected by [Liquor and Gambling NSW] Compliance officers,” the report read.

“No breaches of the requirements under the Act were reported.”

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The report recommended the NSW Government address “stakeholder concerns about the current regulatory framework.”

It also brought into questioning the phrasing of ‘high-risk festivals’ itself.

The report noted that festival organisers believed the terminology “had an impact on their financing, insurance and sponsorship.”

The NSW Government introduced the ‘Music Festivals Act’ last year, following a string of drug-related deaths at festivals.

Legislation required festivals deemed “high-risk” to submit a safety management plan 90 days in advance. This would then determine whether the event could go ahead.

“High-risk” festivals over the 2019-2020 season included Lost Paradise, FOMO, Laneway and Ultra.

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The report revealed that drug-related incidents before and after the Act’s introduction did not change. It found statistics to be “consistent between 2018-19 and 2019-20.”

John Graham, Shadow Minister for Music, said the government should consider “specific financial assistance.”

“The fact that zero breaches have occurred since these regulations is proof that government and industry working together is the way to keep festivals safe,” Graham said, as reported by The Music.

“We are calling for bold action to support festivals once they are safe to return.”

Adelle Robinson, managing director of Listen Out’s Fuzzy Operations, spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald about the report.

Robinson said the industry hopes the NSW Government doesn’t issue any further unreasonable barriers.

“We are looking for certainty from the state that… there is some type of protection against interruption,” she said.

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