Queensland is in a unique position from a regulatory aspect to address the significant issue faced by the live music sector of land use conflict between venues and urban renewal, with the capacity in the Local Government Act for a local authority to declare specific areas with live music venues as special entertainment precincts.
264 Special entertainment precincts
(1) This section is about establishing a special entertainment precinct.
(2) A special entertainment precinct is an area in which—
(a) amplified music that is played at premises in the area is regulated by a local law, and not by the Liquor Act 1992; and
(b) the requirements about noise attenuation under the Planning Act apply to certain types of development in the area.
(3) If a local government wants to establish a special entertainment precinct in its local government area, the local government must—
(a) amend the local government’s planning scheme to identify the special entertainment precinct; and
(b) make a local law to regulate noise from amplified music from premises in the special entertainment precinct, in accordance with a permit that is issued for the premises.
Whilst these provisions have been in place for nearly a decade, only Brisbane City Council has created a special entertainment precinct to date.
In 2013 the Sunshine Coast Council gave consideration to the need for special entertainment precincts to be identified in the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme, with a draft Planning Scheme open for public consultation from 19 October 2012 until 14 December 2012. 10 submissions were received from the community engagement and a response from submissions delivered.
The draft planning scheme does not propose the creation of special entertainment precincts which would transfer responsibility for regulation from the State government to Council.
As an alternative, the draft planning scheme introduces the local concept of hospitality areas.
These areas are intended to provide for a range of entertainment uses which may operate after hours and include live music.
The direction from the review to Council is that the existing hospitality areas in Mooloolaba and Caloundra be expanded further, and that new hospitality areas be established in Maroochydore and Nambour.
The Fortitude Valley precedent demonstrates that not only can the regulations be applied to a larger geographical area comprising blocks of mixed use development but also be site specific to individual live music premises, and further consideration could be given to identifying live music venues in greater Queensland where the application of these regulations would support the development of the live music industry.