In 2019 we saw a huge amount of achievements in the Australian Live Music industry, with important work being done right around the country by a dedicated and passionate community of individuals and organisations, who the Live Music Office is proud to support. We’re excited to cap off an amazing year with our Year In Review – a snapshot of the regulatory and sector development work done throughout 2019.

Policy and Regulation Development

Designated entertainment precincts have emerged strongly as a theme nationally in 2019,  with Canberra, Perth, Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast all tabling proposed regulatory responses to coordinate town planning and better manage land use conflict in night time economy areas, to address overlaps in regulatory functions, and encourage the development of new and increased cultural activity.

Three new entertainment precincts were proposed in QLD this year under similar local laws as the hugely successful Fortitude Valley precinct in Brisbane. Comprising Maroochydore and Nambour in the Sunshine Coast and Southport on the Gold Coast, the Live Music Office has been providing our input to the City of Sunshine Coast since 2015 through the evolution of these precincts, as well as being a member of the Live Music Taskforce which delivered the City of Gold Coast Music Action Plan 2021.

Chloe at Feel the Steel Tattoo, Richmond

It was also a very big year in the ACT, with the culmination of many meetings and trips identifying the issues communicated in the joint Music ACT / Live Music Office 2015 report ‘Cool Little Capital’ coming to a head with the entertainment precincts action plan for Canberra tabled in October. We acknowledge the support of the Hotels and Clubs associations, government agencies and the Territory Assembly in collaboratively recognising the issues and opportunities for Canberra.

Early in 2019 the Live Music Office was recognised by the Federal Parliament Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts inquiry into: Factors contributing to the growth and sustainability of the Australian music industry, with acknowledgement of our extensive work, and the following recommendation 4) That the Australian Government invest in the Live Music Office, to continue its work developing and advising on regulatory best practice.

Parliamentary inquiries also continued in NSW from last year’s inquiry into the Music and Arts Economy in NSW, with both the Joint Select Committee on Sydney’s Night Time Economy and the Regulation Committee Inquiry into Music Festivals Regulations on the agenda this year.  The Live Music Office provided extensive evidence to the Night Time Economy Inquiry, not only through submissions, but also guiding music industry priorities through the Committee for Sydney Night-Time Economy Commission – Sydney as a 24-hour City Report and the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA). In November the NSW Government tabled its response to the Inquiry recommendations, which included the removal of lockouts in the Sydney CBD and Oxford St.

Music Festival regulations featured as a key priority area for the Live Music Office in 2019 across NSW, WA and VIC. Music Festival Regulations were reintroduced in the NSW Parliament in October alongside a Music Festivals Roundtable following on from the parliamentary Inquiry and disallowance motion that saw the previous regulations scrapped. The Live Music Office provided a number of submissions and evidence to parliamentary hearings through this process, with music festivals to continue to be an area for our support in 2020.

At the local government level in NSW, we worked with the Randwick City Council Night Time Economy Working Group on the draft Night Time Economy Study now open for consultation. As members of the Newcastle Live Music Taskforce a number of actions are also on track for 2020, as are with other councils in the state.

Right to Play Live Music

Next year NSW Labor will introduce legislation to Parliament to remove archaic constraints on live music in venues. Across the state pubs and clubs face restrictions on the genre of band they can book, the direction the musician can face and even, in one ridiculous case in Sydney, the way they can decorate their venue. We want a thriving live music industry and night-time economy.The Newcastle Live Music Taskforce also met yesterday to have a chat about this. Thanks to our Shadow Minister John Graham for making the journey and everyone who came along.The Wickham Park Hotel Lass O'Gowrie Hotel Australian Hotels Association – Newcastle Hunter Softys Clubhouse Carol Duncan Nuatali Nelmes – Lord Mayor of Newcastle EAO Entertainment Labor Loves Live Music Grant Walmsley Freebird Live Music Office

Posted by Tim Crakanthorp MP on Monday, 16 December 2019


The collaborative partnership with Sydney Fringe Festival that saw the development of the Live and Local Festival model and the An Anthology of Space 2015-2018: Activating unused and underutilised space for the creative industries and performing arts sectors of NSW report is set to continue in 2020, and the Live Music Office has appreciated working with town planning firms ARUP and URBIS in investigating strategies for live music and night time economies in NSW.

New liquor laws for the Northern Territory in 2019 sees the removal of entertainment conditions on licenses as well as discounts for venues that present weekly live music under the recent risk based liquor licensing scheme. The Live Music Office has worked closely with Music NT and Hospitality NT on these reforms, and provided further consultation on the current review of the NT planning scheme later this year, alongside venue references and submissions on development.

South Australia introduced a suite of short term liquor licenses alongside risk based licensing in 2019. The LMO has been connected through this time with government and industry, and looks forward to working with Music SA and the SA Music Development Office on promoting industry growth next year.

In Tasmania, we provided our assistance to Music TAS throughout 2019, culminating in their submissions to the 2020-21 State Budget Community Consultation on behalf of Tasmania’s contemporary, popular music industries. Further guidance was provided on regulatory issues in Tasmania, which will continue through 2020.

In Victoria, the Regulation Roundtable provided the opportunity to have regular contact with the music sector and government, and with festivals also through the Victorian Live Music Roundtable – Music Festivals Sub-Committee. Recent months have similarly seen us working with industry to respond to proposed new EPA Regulations for 2020 for venues and festivals.

For Western Australia, we have appreciated the opportunity to support the music industry and the WA Government as Perth plans entertainment precincts from November 2019, as well as contribute to the WA Events Discussion Paper, Managing public health risks at events in March.

The Live Music Office has been an active member of the national Club Music Advisory Group (CMAG), which provides regular meetings, briefings, and also tabled submissions to both the NSW Parliamentary Inquiries on music festivals regulations and the night time economy in Sydney on behalf of the electronic music sector in 2019.

Sector Development:

2019 was also a big year for sector engagement and development. The Live Music Office were able to be on the ground in almost every state and territory this year, and participate in a number of roundtables and conferences including the Music Australia Roundtable, Changes in Melbourne, City of Port Phillip Venues Day in St Kilda, the South East Queensland North Music Industry Roundtable in Caloundra, Bigsound in Brisbane, Australian Music Week in Cronulla and the Electronic Music Conference in Sydney.

It was great to continue supporting the inspiring work being achieved by the Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN), and we were able to provide assistance to the shaping and consultation process of the musicians pay survey later this year. We look forward to continuing to work with both Music Australia and the AMIN network in 2020.

Make Music Day also returned in 2019, and the Live Music Office was proud to assist in the coordination and promotion of the day in partnership with the Australian Music Association. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the AMA for 2020 for an even bigger and better Make Music Day.

We were also pleased to attend the National Live Music Awards in Brisbane to acknowledge the incredible talent of Australian musicians right around the country, as well as the individuals and organisations working tirelessly to support the growth of the Australian Live Music industry. The strength of the Australian music industry starts from the ground up, and it was great to see many grassroots achievements recognised on the night.

We’d like to wish all our friends a very happy and safe holiday break, and extend our most heartfelt thanks to all those who support our work and the work of the Australian Live Music community. See you all in 2020!