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NSW govt brings in reforms to protect small venues

The NSW government in Australia is implementing new regulations around noise complaints to protect venues as part of its efforts to rebuild Sydney’s night-time economy.

The suite of measures, which came into effect on 1 July, makes whether the licensed venue or the complainant occupied their premises first a central consideration. The party established first will be “favoured” when determining such complaints, preventing incoming residents restricting the output or operating hours of already established venues.

“The old NSW sport of moving in next to a music venue and complaining until it gets shut down, is now history,” says NSW government minister for music and the night-time economy John Graham. “That era is coming to an end.”

In addition, the government’s Venues Unlocked package will deliver grants that support new and existing venues to host more live gigs without further impacting neighbours through Soundproofing Grants and Live Performance Venue grants.

Soundproofing Grants will support 21 new and existing venues with up to A$100,000 (€62,000) to help them achieve best-practice soundproofing and sound management, while Live Performance Venue grants will support 56 venues with up to $80,000 for essential equipment, programming and marketing costs.

“We are enabling venues to expand their offerings, while also supporting new music venues to get their performance programming off the ground”

“The soundproofing and venue support will mean venues can host more live music, whilst reducing the impact on their neighbours,” adds Graham. “Bit by bit, we are rebuilding Sydney’s night-time economy, venue by venue, neighbourhood by neighbourhood.

“We made a commitment to increase the number of live music venues across NSW and through ongoing reform and the Venues Unlocked grant programmes we are enabling venues to expand their offerings, while also supporting new music venues to get their performance programming off the ground.”

It follows the recent publication of the first-of-its-kind State of the Scene report by Sound NSW, a dedicated government office committed to the growth, development and promotion of contemporary music, which illustrated the full landscape of the live music ecosystem across the state.

“We know through the recent State of the Scene report that there are 795 venues across NSW that offer live music – so this is a great start to supporting venues in a real and tangible way and to help them navigate the challenges of operating in NSW,” says Emily Collins, head of Sound NSW.

The NSW government launched its first “live music audit” last year to help revive the region’s concert scene after it was revealed the Australian state has lost half its music venues over the past decade.


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