Updated: Oct 11, 2019
On Thursday 26th September, the NSW Legislative Council debated the Music Festival Regulations. The outcome was 21 to18 in favour to disallow the regulations and therefore scrap the controversial Music Festival Licence. There was also wide support for the establishment of a Regulatory Roundtable. The AFA provided a much needed industry voice throughout this process. In order to continue our advocacy, we need more members to join. CLICK HERE to become a member.
On Thursday 26th September, the NSW Legislative Council debated the Music Festival Regulations that were recently the subject of a Parliamentary Inquiry. With the generous support of Labor and the cross-bench, the outcome was 21 to18 in favour to disallow the regulations and therefore scrap the controversial Music Festival Licence.
As a recap, the NSW Music Festival Licence was one recommendation in the “Expert Panel Report into Music Festival Safety”. Other measures that were recommended include some positive steps such as; the Criminal Infringement Notice (CIN) for personal supply drug possession instead of a Court Appearance Notice (CAN); and the Harm Reduction Guidelines for Music Festival Organisers that have been widely applauded by industry and experts. However, the licence was the only regulatory tool recommended.
We have maintained throughout this process that the Expert Panel Report was floored from the outset for the following reasons –
· The experts did not include anyone with festival experience
· The experts did not include any festival patrons or youth representation
· The report was rushed
· The outcome of the Coronial Inquest was, and still is, yet to be determined
· Drug checking or pill testing was ruled out of the scope without consideration of the evidence available
The provision for this licence as part of the Liquor Act passed through Parliament largely unnoticed in November 2018 with a regulatory rollout expected to coincide with the caretaker mode that was set to commence in March 2019. While some attempts were made by Liquor & Gaming to consult with industry around the regulations and how the licence would operate, the final version of these regulations were only available to view 5 days before they would be in effect.
Other industries would not be treated like this.
We continue to call for a Regulatory Roundtable to allow us to have going dialogue with Government and their departments about festival operations. This would offer all parties a platform where any future decisions about the industry could be tabled. At the time of writing, the Government has not agreed to this.
At this time, we would like to thank the Hon. John Graham MLC for his continued support of the music industry, and the pivotal role he played throughout this process. We would also like to thank the other agencies that came together at various junctures over this period -
· Live Performance Australia
· Music NSW
· APRA AMCOS
· Live Music Office
· Association of Artist Managers
Our industry needed a peak body to achieve this outcome and to address other issues in the future. We need members to help inform our responses and ensure our long-term viability as a peak body.