In 2017 the Northern Territory Government undertook a review of their alcohol policies and associated legislation.

Through this process, Music NT and the Live Music Office provided music industry submissions to the consultation process that spoke to some of the issues the sector had raised with these organisations as well as through the NT Music Industry Council.

We recognise that the liquor licensing regulatory framework is closely associated with the development of the music industry:

  • Many live music performances are provided by dedicated licensed live music venues which may also be hotels, clubs, or nightclubs or as ancillary entertainment in hospitality industry premises also including cafes and restaurants.
  • Licensed festivals, concerts and events also provide significant jobs and opportunities for musicians, as do community organisations

Given this relationship, this review has far reaching implications for the provision of employment, creative opportunities, and the cultural and economic development of the Northern Territory.

Objects of the Liquor Act

Currently the Objects reference that might be referred to where the interests of the live music and performance sector would likely be supported is under S.3.(b) as follows – to regulate the sale of liquor in a way that contributes to the responsible development of the liquor and associated industries in the Territory;

Including a specific reference here to the live music industry would align with similar references nationally, and provide a position from which the application process and public interest criteria be adjusted. Businesses could refer to this when applying for, transferring, or varying licenses.

This would also be an important reference for governments and for policy consideration where there is an opportunity for better regulation to support industry development.

Other associated references in Australia include –

NSW LIQUOR ACT 2007 – SECT 3 Objects of Act

(c) to contribute to the responsible development of related industries such as the live music, entertainment, tourism and hospitality industries.


(b)         to further the interests of the liquor industry and industries with which it is closely associated—such as the live music industry, tourism and the hospitality industry—within the context of appropriate regulation and controls; and


(c)     to contribute to the responsible development of the liquor, licensed hospitality and live music industries;

WA LIQUOR CONTROL ACT 1988 – SECT 5  Objects of Act

to facilitate the use and development of licensed facilities, including their use and development for the performance of live original music, reflecting the diversity of the requirements of consumers in the State;

Further to this, a reference in the second reading speech as any associated amendment is progressed through Parliament that clearly speaks to the aspiration and intent of the function of these provisions would provide an additional ‘extrinsic’ point of reference if ever the intended operation of the objectives were brought into question.

Liquor Licence Application Process and Public Interest Test

Looking to the Application for the Grant of a Liquor Licence, there are over 8 questions relation to probity, including criminal history of applicants, financial management, legal and employment history.

The LIQUOR ACT – SECT 6 Public interest criteria in respect of licence or licensed premises has multiple subsections along similar lines referencing public health and safety, emissions, vessels, use of credit and more.

In neither the application process nor public interest criteria is there any capacity to reference cultural, social and economic benefit.

  • No reference to how many jobs would be created for artists and hospitality workers
  • No reference to valuing the positive contribution of live music and hospitality industry businesses.

We are of the view that both the application process and the Public Interest criteria be adjusted to also provide a formal opportunity for the cultural and economic contribution of licensed premises, events or program that provide jobs and opportunities for artists to be a specific matter for consideration.

Minors in Licensed Premises

The permissibility for minors to remain on licensed premises is addressed under S.106 and associated subsections.

LIQUOR ACT – SECT 106, Director-General may declare licensed premises prohibited areas for children

(1)     The Director-General may, by notice in writing, declare licensed premises or parts of licensed premises to be an area or areas where a child:

        (a)     must not enter or remain; or

        (b)     must not enter or remain unless the child is in the company of an adult who is the child‘s parent, guardian or spouse.

Many live performance opportunities are in licensed premises, which may then restrict the development of younger artists when under certain conditions there should be options available to support their development.

For teachers who have young students showing promise, or for parents who perform and for whom whose children might be able to accompany them on the show, providing a reference in the legislation that recognises their situation would enable younger musicians to avail themselves of otherwise unattainable performance and employment opportunities under the right conditions.

We submit that this section be amended to include the following reference:

A minor does not commit an offence under section 106 if the minor is performing in a show or other live entertainment performance held in the bar area, and is in the company of a responsible adult while in the bar area.

Entertainment Conditions on Liquor Licenses

A number of live music venues have identified that they have entertainment conditions on their liquor licence that unnecessarily restrict the types of entertainment that may be provided, including for example, the regulation of genres and types of music.

Currently under the LIQUOR ACT – SECT 31 Conditions of licence, the Director-General may, subject to the Regulations, determine conditions with respect to

(g)     the provision of  entertainment  on or at licensed premises;

Firstly, if we look to adjacent work interstate, the South Australian Government has recent recommended that entertainment consent conditions after midnight be removed completely (except for sexually explicit entertainment) – under:

Liquor Licensing (Liquor Review) Amendment Bill 2017

Part 4—Other matters 11—Entertainment consents and conditions

11—Entertainment consents and conditions

(1) A consent in force immediately before the commencement of this clause is, by force of this clause, revoked.

(2) An entertainment condition will be taken to be of no effect from the commencement of this clause

Along with the negotiation of the SA Small Arts Venue NCC variation, one of the other primary motivational factors that informed the establishment of the recent Streamlining Live Music Regulation 90 Day Change Project in South Australia was the removal of entertainment conditions from liquor licenses across the state with changes to the entertainment consent process that commenced 20 December 2015.

The compounding red tape from the operation of the entertainment consent provisions had become a significant issue of over-reach by licensing authorities. This was enacted through conditions on liquor licenses that regulated genres and instruments.

In NSW a level playing field had been the state government policy since 2009 under planning reforms to encourage more live music and performance.

Bringing Back the Music Community Brochure

A level playing field? We can enjoy a wide range of entertainment when we go out to pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafés . Large screens broadcast the latest sports or entertainment, recorded music is played through speakers. Many venues have been deterred from having live music because of the cost of licences and compliance measures—which in some cases do not have any relevance to the performance of music. Restaurants, pubs, cafés  and clubs no longer need additional approval to have live music. Venues across NSW can now offer musicians more opportunities to perform.

MusicNT and the Live Music Office would like to request that the government re-considers the capacity for these laws to regulate certain types of live music and entertainment, and looks to endorsing a process where licensees can apply for a removal of existing entertainment conditions restricting the growth of the live music industry in the NT.

“Ensuring Safe and Vibrant Entertainment Precincts”

As the terms of reference identify both “Ensuring safe and vibrant entertainment precincts” as well as “density of premises” as a matter for consideration, we would submit that this would be an area where careful deliberation around the positive benefits from better regulation aligned with associated town planning would provide more certainty for business and reduce potential land use conflict between music venues and adjacent short and long term residential development.

Where discussion around venue precincts might be premised under narratives associated with saturation and undesirable consequences, we should be careful not to also provide for the recognition of the social, cultural, and economic benefits of ‘destinations’. It has been said before that ‘no-one goes to Las Vegas because there’s only one casino”.

Coordinating Associated Functions of Government

It is recognised that it is out of the scope of this review to also provide for the associated revision of town planning controls as well as to the National Construction Code and other regulatory measures that are to be required if the genuine aspiration of achieving safe and vibrant entertainment precincts is to be realized, however we would like to provide some national references as a matter of public record to intentionally inform a wider policy revision.

Looking again to recent work in other states, from the consideration that followed in South Australia of the associated adjacent regulations across other departments that eventuated as the NCC variation, small bar liquor licenses and entertainment consents were progressed, it was recognised that

“There is ample scope to simplify the current regulatory system whilst still ensuring that common neighbour and community concerns about noise and safety are addressed”.

We submit that this observation is equally applicable in the NT at this time.


Similar News Posts

OpenLIVE an introduction!

New Music Plan Cements Melbourne’s Music Future

Victorian Program to Improve Safety of Live Music Venues


Your Choice : An Update



Sound Smart, Hear Smart – Good Music Neighbours 2018

Help make NSW a better place for Music and the Arts!

Grants give Sydney’s nightlife a major boost

Tips to help with sound in and out of small music venues

Geelong Launches Live Music Action Plan

Live Music Office Wins NLMAs Industry Achievement Award

2017 Adelaide Live Music Census


Proposal to change the 2019 National Construction Code

National Live Music Awards reveals 2017 Nominees and Venues

Rockin’ the Puburbs – Finalists Announced


City of Gold Coast Live Music Industry Development and Taskforce Report

Blacktown Beats and Bites Festival

NSW Liquor Licensing Public Interest Test Reviewed

Western Sydney and Regional NSW Live and Local Program Funding Now Open

Music Australia Contemporary Music Roundtable, 1-3 August 2017

Rockin’ The Puburbs : Original live acts invited to win a headline tour of NSW pubs, $15k value

Live and Local Program Manager joins the Live Music Office

Camden Live and Local – Sat 17 June 2017


The 2017 Jackie Orszaczky Music Lecture and Concert


City of Sydney Live Music and Performance Action Plan Delivers New Initiatives

Victoria Delivers Solid Program Of Initiatives For The Live Music Industry

Parramatta Live and Local : 25th Feb 2017

Victorian Government Commits To Fund Program to Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment in Live Music Venues


Live Music Venues Gain Exemptions From Sydney Lockouts

Grants to keep music venues loud and proud

Parramatta to become a vibrant live music destination through new partnership with the Live Music Office

Five Western Sydney Councils to Host Live and Local Micro-Music Festivals

Western Australia regional venues get over $2M for upgrades

National Live Music Awards 2016 – Board and Venues Announced

Vivid Music 2017 – Expression of Interest Now Open

Live Music Office awarded Australia Council grant for 2017

Sydney Fringe Festival: IGNITE Stanley Street – Live and Local

Getting Paid! This weeks Collaborate QandA at Lazybones Lounge Marrickville

Entertainment Precincts for Canberra

Music NSW hosts: Sound Advice Panel 30th Aug

Sydney Night-Time Economy Roundtable delivers 25 point action plan to NSW Government

South Australia sets benchmark for live music and performance regulation in Australia

AIUS 2016 Seminar Series – The future of entertainment in the late night economy

iHearMusic Presents Collaborate!! Q&A Music Industry Panel: Women in the Music Industry

Applications open: Live/Work Space for Artists in Sydney

2016 Adelaide Live Music Census Shows Scene Building

Get paid for playing live: APRA AMCOS Performance Reports due 7 August

Bringing in the Music – Business 101 Seminar

Music Australia, Live Music Office present the National Live Music Forum

Tasmanian Music Sector Consultation Forums

Want Live Music In Your Venue?

60 Second I Love Live Music – Winner Announced!

Good Music Neighbours – Victoria

Live Music Office to coordinate Live and Local events in Western Sydney

2016 Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition

Crystal clear live music vision for this Hinterland Café

Sydney CBD sees drop in live performance revenue since introduction of lockout laws

Best Practice Guide for Live Music Venues in SA Released

Low Risk Directions in Liquor Licensing, Planning and the National Construction Code

BYO Live Music Venue Liquor Licence Proposed For South Australia

I LOVE LIVE MUSIC 60 Second Film Competition

Red Tape Slashed for Live Music and Performance in South Australia

Live Music Office unites Councils with industry through AMPLIFY program!

Its not you it’s me: falling out of love with live music

Live Music Measures Up: An Economic Impact Analysis of Live Music in Ontario

South Australian Music Development Office recognised in Parliament

Liquor Act reform cuts red tape for SA music venues

Live Music Programming Coordinator – Pilot Project

Live Music Office presents the Australian case at the Music Cities Convention in Washington

Cool Little Capital – an action plan for Canberra’s live music sector

Live and Local village music festival ignites Erskineville

New report reviews planning barriers for low risk arts venues in NSW


Live Music Programming Coordinator Pilot Project

Ballarat Live Music Strategic Plan – CALL FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST

Local artists call for live music pilot project in Nambour

Live Music Dollars Boost The Australian Economy Three Times Over

South Australian Government Brings New Laws for Live Music into Parliament

Adelaide Live Music Census 2015 released

Update on the Music Strategy for Melbourne

National Contemporary Music Roundtable -Industry Commits to National Business Development Plan

National Indigenous Music Awards

New venue for Perth – Jack Rabbit Slim’s

Want a 12 month paid internship with Music SA?

Live Music Office says “Quick get your Live Performance Return submitted to APRA!”

Live Music Office support for The Association of Artist Managers (AAM): Managers Mentor Program 2015

Understanding behaviour in the Australian and New Zealand night-time economies.

Darwin live music venue The Chippo: Update

Hosting Live Music in South Australia

Muzeek – Launches New Live Music Booking Platform

The Chippo Darwin Shut Down By Authorities

Live Music Venues and the Building Code of Australia Issues Paper