In a week where Melbourne was named one of the world’s leading music cities, the Victorian Government confirmed it will ease trading restrictions on small venues and announced funding for venue support.

From 1 July, a seven year late-night restriction on small live music venues and boutique bars will be lifted as part of the government’s commitment to the live music industry. Venues with 200 patrons or less in inner Melbourne will be able to sell alcohol after 1am by applying for an exemption.

The Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation, Jane Garrett, said the announcement shows the government’s support for Melbourne’s thriving boutique bars while encouraging responsible drinking habits.

John Wardle of the Live Music Office said, “The liquor freeze exemption is of national significance, bringing licensing laws that support what the community wants, rather than just banning what we don’t like. Specific exemptions for live music venues are an important national precedent.”

The government also announced a new $250,000 Live Music Noise Attenuation Assistance Program. The program has been established to help live music venue owners who were vulnerable to noise complaints due to increasing residential encroachment.

Under the program, venue owners who are required to reduce music noise will be able to apply for reimbursement of expenses for building works such as acoustic insulation.