The NSW Labor party will introduce ‘Labor Loves Live Music,’ a new policy aimed at supporting music venues, at their state conference this weekend.
In a week where we’ve seen Newtown’s Sandringham Hotel placed into receivership, and with venues like The Annandale facing well-documented financial problems and The Gaelic shutting down its music operations, any support from a political body is a breath of fresh air to the music scene. Labor Loves Live Music “calls on councils to enact planning controls that promote live music and to protect existing venues from vexatious complaints, especially from residents who move in to neighbourhoods where music venues have long existed,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald. John Wardle, long-time musician and a key advisor to the campaign, told Groupie that the LLLM push is composed of two key recommendations that aim to better support music venues from noise complaints.
“These are venues that are well established, but even having been there for a generation and making a big contribution to our cultural life, are facing relentless challenges through amenities and noise complaints,” Wardle told us.
“[Labor Loves Live Music] has several aspects. If people are going to make a complaint, they should sit down with the venue. Where there is an amenity complaint against an entertinament venue, the process should include mediation, not that the venue gets hit with an order under the environmental protection act. In liquor laws, there are these contexts; but councils are using pollution acts [in relation to noise complaints].”
Wardle went on to explain that new residential buildings in established “night economy” areas – Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Kings Cross – should have higher building standards, to deal with the higher levels of existing noise, rather than forcing existing venues to change their operation to fit with the new residents.
“You don’t move next to the airport and complain about the planes. So shouldn’t be able to move next to an established venue and complain about the noise.
“In NSW, if you build a residential development on a railway corridor or city road, there is a higher standard of constriction compliance you need to meet, to deal with these noise. This should be applied to buildings near night economy areas. That precedent should be applied to the night economy. These two policies are long overdue at the local government level.”
The Labor Loves Live Music campaign will be introduced this weekend, by Leichhardt Labor councillor Darcy Byrne. Byrne told the Herald that the policy began after his Leichardt council was involved in long-running disputes with the Annandale who said it has arisen from the ongoing dispute with the Annandale Hotel over night trading.
”Local governments must choose to be on the side of live music venues as opposed to quieter pubs filled with poker machines,” he told the Herald, also saying that council too often acted as the “fun police.”
We’ll be closely monitoring the outcome of this, as from Wardle’s comments, it seems that the campaign will make a difference to venues struggling against fines and red tape.
“It will make NSW a better place,” Wardle said, “to employ musicians, to be a musician, and to enjoy music as a fan.”
What do you think? Does this policy go far enough to help venues? What else could be done? Let us know in the comments section below!