The Live Music Office welcomes the announcement by the NSW Government of the removal of the lockouts in the Sydney CBD and Oxford St scheduled to commence in January 2020, along-side the NSW Government Response to Night Time Economy Inquiry Recommendations, and the appointment of Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres as Minister responsible for the implementation and review of the NSW Government response.
Live music, performance, and the hospitality sector are leading industries within the night time economy in Sydney, and for whom impacts from the 2014 lockouts are recognised as being real and difficult. The loss of venues, employment, diversity and reputation for the Sydney CBD, Oxford St and Kings Cross from lockouts has been significant, and therefore this announcement will be welcomed by many in the community, both domestically and internationally.
Some of the issues the music sector have also raised in this context include:
- Overlapping regulations across liquor, planning and noise laws
- Potential for land use conflict between business and residential development in night time economy areas
- State investment in the music sector in NSW below counterparts in other states
- Multiple agencies involved in Night Time Economy Inquiry recommendations delivery
- Identified red tape challenges in the planning approvals pathway, building regulations, liquor licenses and trading conditions including regulating musical genres
We therefore acknowledge the NSW Government Response to Night Time Economy Inquiry Recommendations that provides support/in–principle support to many of these issues.
The end of the lockouts in the Sydney CBD and Oxford St now provide an opportunity to reset the narrative and get behind the night time economy in the Sydney CBD, to rebuild a safe, healthy, and fun city that succeeds in achieving its potential as a global leader in culture, live-ability and visitation.
Importantly, ensuring that music, performance, and cultural activity are front and centre in shaping the night time economy master plan will be essential if a vibrant and creative character is to be achieved.
As other capital cities in Australia including Canberra and Perth are joining Brisbane in developing special entertainment precincts where live music venues are recognised and protected, the music industry stands ready to support the NSW Government in preparing the night time economy strategy for Sydney, in developing good regulations that represent best practice for greater NSW, and ultimately, ensuring the CBD, greater Sydney and NSW is a place where diversity and creativity in the night economy are valued and celebrated.