Local artists call for live music pilot project in Nambour

The local music industry is calling on the state government to support a pilot project in Nambour in a bid to support a growing culture of live music on the Sunshine Coast.

The call follows a meeting of 25 music and business industry leaders held in Maroochydore last night, who expressed concern that state government regulation around liquor licensing was being unfairly used to target live music venues.

According to Creative Alliance President Phil Smith, the Sunshine Coast Council has already taken a progressive approach to fostering music culture through planning regulation.

With a flexible approach from state government, the Creative Alliance believes the Coast could become the Austin Texas of the Australian music scene.

“This community wants to see a series of vibrant towns, full of culture and great live music! The planning scheme already supports live music by establishing ‘hospitality areas’ in Caloundra, Mooloolaba, Maroochydore and Nambour,” Mr Smith said.

He says the trouble is that the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) are using liquor licensing to prohibit live music whilst unlicensed venues are not targeted.

“What happens at the moment is that if noise levels in a live music venue exceed 75 decibels, there’s an implied and real threat that the OLGR can take away an operators liquor license unless a costly and complex assessment process that should only be applied as a last resort is taken“ he said.

But according to Mr Smith, a venue two doors down the street without a liquor license, can exceed those noise thresholds with very little problem.

“Using alcohol regulations to manage noise issues is bad policy.

It’s strangling our live music culture which is having a knock-on effect on the economy and vibrancy of our centres.”

Smith says the state government can help find reasonable balance with a pilot project in Nambour to explore a flexible solution to noise levels within town centres.

“What we’re proposing is a variation to the noise policy from the OLGR, where noise would be measured at 75 decibels at the external boundary of the Tambour hospitality area identified in the planning scheme, instead of being measured inside licensed venues. “.

He says it’s a simple change, but one that better reflects the policy intent of existing land use planning and community expectations.

“We’ve got support from the Combined Chambers of Commerce and the local councillor Greg Rogerson who has shown real leadership on this.

We are calling on the State government to help us identify a constructive, local solution that’s a real win-win. “

The pilot proposal was developed in partnership with John Wardle from the federal government’s Live Music Office who attended last night’s meeting.

Mr Wardle says that the current approach received a number of adverse findings in the 2013 Ombudsman’s investigation into the regulation of licensed premises by the OLGR, as well as being identified in the 2013 Red Tape reduction strategy as an inefficient process.

“This pilot links directly to the vision of the local planning scheme that supports live music as an economic development engine that can also encourage entrepreneurs to coastal communities” he says.

“This is a sensible way forward to an intractable issue, which is widely recognised not only as inefficient but also as the biggest barrier to the development of Queensland live music.”

Cr Rogerson said he was excited about the potential for Nambour to be utilised for this pilot project, if supported.

“Council has already contributed significantly in this area with the inclusion of a number of hospitality areas in Council’s new Planning Scheme,” he said.

“The meeting last night unanimously supported the idea and it is great to see the local music industry working together to develop ideas that will benefit the region.”

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For further media information contact:

Phil Smith, 0408 721 339

Jon Wardle, 0407 400 018