NSW remove development regulations on live music venues in new reforms

Pubs and restaraunts will no longer have entertainment bans, trading hours extended and more

NSW’s legislative council passed a series of changes to the regulation of live music in the state, including longer trading hours and license discounts, on Thursday (November 12).

The new rules are alterations to the Liquor Act, Planning Act, Local Government Act and the Building Code. They aim to stimulate activity in the state’s night time economy as it recovers from a COVID-19-induced downturn.

Entertainment conditions, which previously restricted the type of music or number of instruments permitted in different venues, will be removed. This extends to restaurants and pubs previously prohibited from hosting live entertainment.

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Special permission for extended opening hours and discounts on liquor licenses will be used to incentivise venues to schedule live music, as well as a streamlined process to create live music spaces or “small bars”.

“Low impact live entertainment” will also be reclassified as exempt from typical planning regulations, while giving local councils the power to remove any entertainment bans that exist in their own precincts.

The NSW government has also committed to establishing new cultural and entertainment precincts, in addition to temporary measures allowing for the reappropriation of outdoor spaces for outdoor performance while social distancing restrictions remain in place.

Dean Ormston, CEO of APRA AMCOS, said the changes to complex regulations like these were “one of the major keys” to the success of the Australian music industry.

“For decades, regulations in NSW have had a strange-hold on live music and cultural activity. These days are now passed and both APRA AMCOS and the Live Music Office are proud to have been instrumental in working on these reforms with the NSW Parliament,” Ormston said.

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“All these changes will help support small businesses and drive an economic recovery across the state, and importantly, getting musicians back to work.”

The changes incorporate many of the policy ideas from the “24-hour Economy Strategy” unveiled by the NSW government in September, without the changes to noise restrictions.

It all follows the removal of the state’s infamous lockout laws in January of this year, for all clubs and venues apart from King’s Cross. The laws prohibited venues from allowing patrons in past 1:30am, while serving shots and cocktails after midnight was also prohibited.

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