Planning and Development – WA

In recent years, SA NSW and Victoria have introduced state specific planning regulations to better support live music venues within this system. With variations also being considered in other states, the case is building for adopting these reforms as a nationally consistent approach.

Numerous WA government agencies have committed to support the industry, or are responsible for regulating it in some way (DCA – Live Music Venues Review; DRGL & WA Police – Liquor Control Act 1988; Department of Planning / Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) – Planning and Development Act 2005; EPA – Environment Protection Act 1986 & Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997).

2015 research by the University of Tasmania identified that live music in WA in 2014 generated $103,653,647 across concerts ($63,155,966) festivals ($20,492,751) and ticketed shows ($20,004,930), supporting 3,926 full time and 2,991 part time jobs.

Issues around venue regulation in WA have been raised by the music sector and the hospitably industry across a number of areas in recent years. These include;

  • The complexity of regulation affecting live music, and some degree of uncertainty as to which agency is ultimately responsible, especially in regard to noise complaints
  • Operation of the Environment Protection Act 1986 & Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997
  • Enforcement of EP noise complaints by Local Government
  • Liquor Licensed Premises & Noise complaints under s117 of the Liquor Control Act 1988
  • Population increases and planning for the future (MRA / DoPs / DAPs / LGAs)
  • The operation of Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 – Reg 18 for approved sporting, cultural and entertainment events
  • Barriers to presenting all ages gigs in Perth

Combined, these issues showcase the growing challenges of population growth, urban density, out-dated noise regulations, inadequacy of compliance, enforcement, development and planning processes which pose a significant threat to future investment in hospitality and entertainment venues

In July 2015 the Department of Culture and the Arts (DCA) undertook a Live Music Venues Review. This report made a series of recommendations informed by situation analysis and sector consultation, including 1) Coordinate regulatory agencies; 2) Review SASP website; 3) Review Creative Industries Grants Program , 4) Audit Arts and cultural portfolio assets and opportunities , 5) Undertake further research into the contribution of live music in WA.

Further consultation from WAM and the music sector at the August 2015 Music Council convened at the Rosemount Hotel identified issues including;

  • Trading hours for live music venues including regional
  • Publicly funded events and grants not supporting venue based live music
  • The role (or not) of the objectives supporting live music in the Liquor Control Act 1988 in the application for, and transferring of, licenses for venues