TEG acquires Sydney-based promoter Handsome Tours
Australia-based live entertainment conglomerate TEG is strengthening its domestic position with a majority stake in Handsome Tours, a Syndey-based boutique tour and events promoter.
Handsome Tours has accumulated two decades’ worth of experience in breaking alt-pop, indie rock and hip-hop acts in Australia and New Zealand, promoting tours for artists including Stormzy, Bon Iver, The xx, Phoebe Bridgers and The War On Drugs.
Under the new deal, the company’s executives, Mark Dodds and Colin Daniels, will remain partners. Dodds will continue leadership as the company’s managing director whilst Daniels will assume the role of executive director alongside his ongoing role as managing director of Inertia Music/[PIAS] Australia.
Founding partners Ashley Sellers, Mathew Everett and Justin Cosby will be replaced as board members by TEG CEO Geoff Jones and CFO Sandra Rouse.
“Time and time again, Handsome Tours have showcased their ability to discover new talent and nurture it from the tiniest of clubs to sold-out theatres and arenas,” says TEG’s Jones.
“Handsome Tours have showcased their ability to discover new talent and nurture it from the tiniest clubs to sold-out arenas”
“The team’s passionate work ethic and artist-first philosophy is the perfect complement to TEG’s integrated model, built on client-first technology solutions and customer-first ticketing services.”
Handsome Tours’ Dodds says: “We couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with TEG to write the next chapter for Handsome Tours. Handsome has always been known for breaking artists but we’re even prouder of our record of contributing to sustained artist careers.
“Belonging to a world-class group like TEG will empower us to speak to more music-lovers in more sophisticated ways than ever before, delivering bigger outcomes for agents, managers and their talent at every point of an act’s journey.”
Handsome Tours’ recent accomplishments include Gang Of Youths’ ‘Say Yes To Life’ tour, which sold over 50,000 tickets and broke venue records across the country, as well as 2020’s ‘Down To Earth – A Bushfire and Climate Fundraiser’ at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, which raised over AUS$1.4 million for bushfire relief with a line-up including Gang Of Youths, Tash Sultana, Angus & Julia Stone and Thelma Plum.
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Australia to host first arena concerts since March
TEG, Live Nation and the government of New South Wales (NSW) have announced plans for The Greatest Southern Nights, Australia’s first arena shows since the shutdown of the concert business in March.
Taking place as part of Great Summer Nights, the state-backed 1,000-show concert series running in NSW throughout this month, the Greatest Southern Nights shows will play to more than 12,000 fans at Qudos Bank Arena (21,000-cap.) over two nights in a seated, ‘Covid-safe’ setting.
Ocean Alley will headline the first gig, on Saturday 28 November, joined by Jack River, Ruby Fields and Jack Botts, with Bernard Fanning and Matt Corby, supported by Merci, Mercy, playing the second on Saturday 5 December. For each, co-promoters TEG Live and Live Nation will welcome more than 6,000 fans to the Sydney venue.
Geoff Jones, CEO of TEG and a key figure in the pan-industry Live Entertainment Industry Fund (LEIF), comments: “These shows are vital for our industry because they will show that we can stage big live concerts safely and that Australians cannot wait to get out and share great live entertainment experiences with their friends and family.
“We have seen the successful and safe return of large crowds to major live sport, and it is time for live music to make a return at scale at a world-class venue, Qudos Bank Arena, which we will operate in a reduced, Covid-safe capacity for these shows.”
Tickets for the Ocean Alley show cost A$91.60 (€56), while the Bernard Fanning-Matt Corby date is priced at $99.90 (€60). The shows go on sale at 10am local time Monday and Tuesday, respectively, via TEG’s Ticketek platform.
“After eight long months of zero arena shows, these concerts will see great musicians bring thousands of fans back together”
“After eight long months of zero arena shows, these concerts will see great musicians bring thousands of fans back together,” comments Roger Field, president of Live Nation Asia Pacific, who also serves on the LEIF executive committee. “Not only will these two wonderful nights of entertainment deliver significant employment but they are sure to inject a vital economic boost to our industry and the economy.”
The shows are supported by New South Wales’s tourism agency, Destination NSW. The state’s minister for jobs, investment, tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, says: “NSW has led Australia in reigniting the live music industry through Great Southern Nights, and now we are excited to announce these landmark concerts that will be the hottest tickets in the country.
“The NSW government is proud to be getting artists, roadies, venues, hospitality staff and tourism businesses back to work and we hope this heralds the safe return of major indoor arena events.”
Arena shows have already returned to neighbouring New Zealand, where Live Nation recently promoted a headline tour by local star Benee. At press time, Australia had just 12 new cases of coronavirus today (6 November), while NZ had one.
“I’m so happy to be part of the reopening of the live music scene in NSW,” adds Bernard Fanning. “It’s a great opportunity to get people safely together again, but just as importantly to give the music industry workers whose lives have been so upended by Covid a chance to get back to doing what they do best.”
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Sports pave the way for large-scale events
Sport is leading the way for large-scale events, drawing visitors by the tens of thousands whilst complying with coronavirus restrictions.
Last Sunday (20 September), one of Poland’s premier football clubs, Lech Poznan, set a new record for the biggest crowd to attend a sporting event in Europe since March – selling 17,000 tickets.
Poznań Stadium operated at just under 50% of its usual capacity of 42,837 for the match in order to comply with Polish regulation, which currently states that every second seat in the audience can be made available to the public, alternately in rows, but not exceeding 50% of the total number of seats.
In Australia, the New South Wales (NSW) government recently announced that major sporting events at selected Sydney stadiums can increase crowds from 25% to 50% capacity, up to a maximum of 40,000 spectators, from 1 October.
Selected stadiums include Stadium Australia (cap. 83,500), Bankwest Stadium (30,000) and Sydney Cricket Ground (48,000), which will be permitted to host ticketed and seated-only events under Coronavirus protocol.
Each stadium will also be required to employ a unique chequerboard seating arrangement – which will be divided into different zones to avoid mixing – and a ticket allocation process that will ensure the social distancing of participants when seated.
“Our number one priority is the health and safety, however it is no secret we’re also focused on firing up the economy”
“Our number one priority is the health and safety of the people of NSW, however it is no secret we’re also focused on firing up the economy,” said NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian.
“Safely allowing more fans at in-demand major sporting events will bring enjoyment, employment and help stimulate the NSW economy.”
This decision will benefit the National Rugby League for games in its Premiership finals and State of Origin.
Elsewhere, the Turkish Formula 1 grand prix sold more than 40,000 tickets in six hours last Wednesday – an astounding number for Covid times and yet a fraction of the 100,000 tickets organisers hope to sell for the race at Istanbul Park circuit.
According to Intercity chairman Vural Ak, a socially distanced six-figure crowd can easily be accommodated with the track at less than half its capacity. “We know the capacity of this track,” he told reporters at a press conference earlier this month. “Around 220,000 spectators can watch the race in the grandstands and in the open areas.
“At the moment, for safety reasons, if we close some sections, about 100,000 spectators will be able to watch the race by following social distancing rules.”
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Australia hosts first major “post-restrictions” events
Western Australia, home to the city of Perth, has become the first Australian state to host large-scale live events, allowing its biggest sport and entertainment venues to operate at 50% capacity.
The state saw the return of stadium concerts this weekend, with local musicians Crooked Colours, ShockOne, Slumberjack and Tina Says performing to over 2,000 fans as part of the WA Unlocked event at the HBF Stadium in Perth.
The event, organised by Zaccaria Concerts and VenuesWest, was billed as the first “post-restrictions” concert to be held in the country since lockdown measures came into force in March.
Seated tickets for the event cost AU$60 (€37), with standing tickets priced at AU$81 (€50).
Western Australia is now in its fourth stage of lockdown easing, permitting all events except large scale, multi-stage music festivals. Unseated performances are allowed to take place at music venues and concert halls, with gathering limits only determined by the state’s two-square-metre-per-person rule.
For the state’s biggest venues, however, a 50% capacity rule currently applies. Perth’s Optus Stadium admitting 25,000 football fans for a match on Sunday. The stadium is allowed to admit up to 35,000 for concerts and 30,633 for sporting events, with HBF Park given limits of 10,150 for sports and 16,500 for music events.
Western Australia is now in its fourth stage of lockdown easing, permitting all events except large scale, multi-stage music festivals
Phase five of Western Australia’s lockdown lifting, which was to see almost all remaining restriction removed, was recently pushed back from 18 July to 1 August.
The re-imposition of lockdown restrictions across the parts of the state of Victoria – which saw citizens permitted to leave their houses only for work, education, exercise or to buy essential supplies from 8 July – will last for six weeks.
Nightclubs in South Australia similarly faced a second wave of closures after briefly reopening over the first weekend of July. All venues now have to submit a Covid management plan before being allowed to operate.
In New South Wales, home to Sydney, venues are allowed to operate at 25% capacity, with a maximum number of 10,000 people in attendance, as long as social distancing measures are applied. All venue operators must submit a Covid-19 safety plan before organising an event.
Queensland is allowing events of up to 25,000 people (where that is equal to 50% full capacity), as long as there is an approved Covid safe event plan, and enough space for one person every four square metres.
Photo: DaHuzyBru/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) (cropped)
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
TEG raises over AU$9.5m for bushfire relief
Sunday’s Fire Fight Australia charity concert has raised almost AU$10 million (US$6.7m) for bushfire relief, with promoters TEG Dainty and TEG Live expecting more donations to come.
The mammoth nine-and-a-half-hour benefit concert took place at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on 16 February, with an audience of 75,000 watching performances from Queen and Adam Lambert, Alice Cooper, Michael Bublé, 5 Seconds of Summer and Peking Duk, among others.
The concert was broadcast live across Australia, thanks to a partnership between TEG and television networks Foxtel and Seven Network. Highlights of the show will be broadcast worldwide in the coming days with a call to action to donate.
The AU$9.5 m ($6.4m) raised so far will go to rural and regional fire services, Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery, RSPCA Bushfire Appeal and the BizRebuild programme.
“What a day and what a night it has been,” comments TEG CEO Geoff Jones. “Our huge thanks are owed to the 23 artists and bands and to the many companies and people who donated their time and services to make Fire Fight Australia happen.
“It has been an enormous effort from the music industry to pull this concert together in five weeks and we are just so proud of what has been achieved through our collective effort.”
“It has been an enormous effort from the music industry to pull this concert together in five weeks”
“We are overjoyed at the response from all of the fans here tonight at ANZ Stadium in Sydney and around the world,” adds TEG Dainty CEO Paul Dainty. “From the first conversation with Queen’s manager, Jim Beach, the band’s immediate response to support this amazing event was what set everything in motion.
“We want to give a special shout out to Celeste Barber for hosting this historic event, she has been one of the greatest supporters and we thank her.
A full breakdown of the final amounts raised will be made available in due course. TEG intends to keep donations open until mid May, when international broadcasts end. Accounting firm Deloitte will provide a post-event report detailing revenues, expenses and confirmation of the final donations to the various charities.
Jones, Dainty and TEG Live CEO Tim McGregor wrote in IQ ahead of Fire Fight Australia this weekend, describing how the star-studded event came to be. Read TEG’s journey to Fire Fight Australia here.
Australian live community rallies for wildfire relief
The live music community is showing its support for those affected by the Australian bushfires, as a multitude of benefit concerts crop up around the country and major artists pledge money to bushfire relief.
According to Australia’s Rural Fire Service, more than 8 million hectares of land has been burned since the bushfires began in September, with over half of the damage occurring in New South Wales alone.
A number of high-profile artists, as well as members of the wider entertainment world, have donated money to fire services in the country, including a US$1 million pledge by Elton John, A$750,000 (US$514,534) from Metallica, US$500,000 from Pink, A$500,000 (US$342,568) from Kylie Minogue and US$100,000 from Australian DJ Flume.
Many artists are also taking to the stage in order to do their bit for bushfire relief, as a growing number of benefit concerts pop up across Australia. Here, IQ provides a round up some of the biggest charity events…
First staged in 2009 in aid of the Victorian bushfires and Queensland floods, the Sound Relief benefit is returning to Melbourne and Sydney this year in response to the current wildfire crisis.
“In response to the devastating bushfires currently sweeping across the country, the Australian Music Community will band together once again under the unified banner of Sound Relief 2020,” reads a post on the Sound Relief Facebook page.
A collaborative music industry effort, a number of promoters including Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment, Live Nation Australia and New Zealand, IMC Music HQ and Secret Sounds will be involved in organising the event.
Artists including Coldplay, Taylor Swift and Kings of Leon performed at the 2009 event. Details about the line-up, locations and date of this year’s benefit will be released in due course.
“The Australian Music Community will band together once again under the unified banner of Sound Relief 2020”
Fire Fight Australia
When: Sunday 16 February
Where: ANZ Stadium, Sydney, NSW
As previously reported in IQ, Australasian powerhouse promoters TEG Dainty and TEG Live are hosting a charity concert at the 83,500-capacity ANZ Stadium. The promoters promise a “major musical event” featuring “globally renowned artists”.
The line-up has yet to be announced for the event, although speculation – to be taken, as ever, with a pinch of salt – are circulating as to whether Queen and Adam Lambert will top the bill, given they are playing a TEG-promoted show at the stadium the day before.
More information about the event will become available here in the coming weeks.
The promoters promise a “major musical event” featuring “globally renowned artists”
Out of Bounds
When: Saturday 18 January
Where: Campbelltown Athletics Centre, Sydney, NSW
Leading Australian promoter Frontier Touring, together with fellow Mushroom Group company I Oh You, is offering discounted Fire Relief tickets to the inaugural Out of Bounds festival.
The event, which will take place across two stages at the 8,000-capacity athletics centre, will feature performances from Australian hip-hop artist Illy, local alternative-rock band the Rubens and Brisbane singer and rapper Mallrat.
In response to the bushfire crisis, festival organisers introduced a special ticket offer, with AUD$10 ($7) of a new $69 ($47) ticket going directly to the Red Cross Bushfire Emergency Appeal.
Fire Relief tickets for the festival are available here.
“Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones and the communities across Australia suffering”
Down to Earth
When: Wednesday 26 February
Where: Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, Victoria
Promoted by Handsome Tours in conjunction with Mirror Music Group, Lemon Tree Music, Arts Centre Melbourne and OneMusic Australia, Down to Earth is raising funds for the Australian Red Cross and the NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Emergency Service (Wires), as well as other organisations focusing on long term solutions to the bushfire emergency.
Australian acts Angus and Julia Stone, Briggs, Gangs of Youths, Jack River, Ruby Fields and Tash Sultana will perform at the event, which will be held at the 10,000-capacity Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
“Collectively, our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones, the firies who have put their lives on the line and continue to, and the communities across Australia suffering,” reads a collective statement from artists.
“We hope to give you the greatest thing we can in this time of great need – our voices and our songs.”
Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. on Thursday 10 a.m. (AEDT) January local time, available here.
“We hope that throwing this Raise ‘Em Up show provides people another way to support their [the charities’] critical work”
Raise ‘Em Up
When: Saturday 25 January
Where: The Tivoli, Brisbane, Queensland
The Tivoli, a 1,600-capacity music venue and theatre in Brisbane, will host artists including Megan Washington, Matt Corby and the Kit String Triangle in an effort to raise AUD$100,000 ($68,568) for bushfire relief.
Dave Sleswick, co-owner and creative director of the venue says all ticket, bar and merchandise profits from the evening will be shared between the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal and Wires.
“Both Wires and the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal are hugely worthy causes and we hope that throwing this Raise ‘Em Up show provides people another way to support their critical work,” comments Sleswick.
Tickets go on sale on 9 January at 9 a.m. (AEST), available here.
“A gig like this is the least we can do for all the communities that have suffered and fought these fires”
When: Friday 31 January
Where: Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth, Western Australia
Artists from Western Australia are banding together in solidarity with the worse-affected eastern part of the country. John Butler Trio, the Waifs, San Cisco and Stella Donnelly are performing at the 400-capacity Freemantle Arts Centre in Perth to raise money for the NSW Rural Fire Service, the Victorian Bushfire Appeal and Wires.
“A gig like this is the least we can do for all the communities that have suffered and fought these fires,” comments John Butler. “Our hearts and prayers go out to all those that have fallen victim to this national disaster and hopefully gigs like this can make even smallest of meaningful difference.”
Tickets go on sale on Thursday 9 January at 9 a.m. (AWST). Tickets cost AUD$96.90 ($67), with a live recording of the event available for AUD$20 ($14).
“As much as raising funds, this FireAid2020 concert is about community spirit”
When: Friday 24 January
Where: Bong Bong Picnic Racecourse, Bowral, NSW
John Waters, Daryl Braithwaite, Leo Sayer and Megan Washington are among artists performing at a similarly named event in New South Wales, which will be hosted by Australian television presenter and actress Julia Zemiro.
“All of us want to do something; but I realised I had the power of public recognition and that I had a lot of friends in the music and entertainment industry with a lot more of that power than me, and the idea of FireAid2020 ‘The Concert’ was born,” says Waters in a statement.
“As much as raising funds, this FireAid2020 concert is about community spirit; about unconditional love for each other; about fire-in-the-belly action. Rock On Australia!”
Tickets for FireAid2020 are available here for AUD$65 ($45).
“There has been a lot of devastation in Australia lately that is very saddening to witness”
Tones and I Bushfire Benefit Concert
When: Tuesday 28 January
Where: 170 Russell, Melbourne, Victoria
As reported by IQ yesterday, Australian singer Tones and I will be performing a charity concert at the 1,050-capacity 170 Russell in Melbourne, with proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross, Country Fire Authority and the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Tones and I, real name Toni Watson, will be supported by Adelaide singer Adrian Eagle, with more acts yet to be announced.
“There has been a lot of devastation in Australia lately that is very saddening to witness,” the singer, who calls recent events in the country “apocalyptic”, writes in an Instagram post. “We are in this together.”
Tickets for the concert, which went on sale yesterday, have now sold out. Fans can make a charity donation here.
Live music hit by Australian bushfires
A Day On the Green festival in Victoria is the latest live music event to fall foul of the bushfires raging through Australia.
Australian rock bands Cold Chisel, Birds of Tokyo and Magic Dirt were scheduled to perform today (7 January) at A Day On the Green at the All Saints Estate in Rutherglen, in the south east of Australia.
Michael Newton, co-director of A Day On the Green organiser Roundhouse Entertainment, says the promoter is “extremely disappointed” to cancel the event.
“Our first priority is the safety of patrons, staff and artists and with air quality on the site and in surrounding areas now at a hazardous level, we have no other option but to cancel today’s show,” comments Newton.
The cancellation A Day On the Green, which has hosted the likes of Robbie Williams, Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Morrison and Florence and the Machine since launching in 2001, follows that of the Lorne leg of Falls Festival in December. The festival was set to feature artists including Halsey, Vampire Weekend, Lewis Capaldi, Peking Duk, John Farnham and Disclosure.
“Our first priority is the safety of patrons, staff and artists and with air quality now at a hazardous level, we have no other option but to cancel today’s show”
Multiple benefit concerts have cropped up in the wake of festival cancellations in order to raise money for bushfire relief.
Yesterday, Australian promoter TEG announced Fire Fight Australia, which will take place at Sydney’s 83,500-capacity ANZ Stadium on 16 February.
Singer Tones and I today revealed she will play a charity show at Melbourne’s 1,050-capacity 170 Russell on Tuesday 28 January, supported by Adrian Eagle. All proceeds from the event will be donated to rural fire services and the Australian Red Cross.
Tones and I also appeared at a benefit concert hosted by electronic duo Peking Duk in December, which raised AUD $50,000 (US$34,365) for firefighters tackling the blazes.
A Day On the Green ticketholders will receive a full refund via Ticketmaster in due course.
TEG to hold concert for Australian bushfire relief
Promoters TEG Live and TEG Dainty are hosting a benefit concert to raise funds to provide relief from the bushfires which have been burning throughout Australia since September.
The concert, dubbed Fire Fight Australia, will be held at Sydney’s 83,500-capacity ANZ Stadium on Sunday 16 February and is expected to run from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
“This is a major musical event which will see globally-renowned artists from Australia and around the world come together to perform and show solidarity with people whose lives have been disrupted by the bushfires,” reads a statement from the TEG-owned promoters.
“This is a major musical event which will see globally-renowned artists show solidarity with people whose lives have been disrupted by the bushfires”
A full line-up of artists and partners will be announced here in the coming weeks.
TEG Dainty is promoting upcoming tours by Michael Buble and Queen and Adam Lambert across Australia and New Zealand, with TEG Live presenting shows by Lenny Kravitz and Alice Cooper.
TEG launches live family entertainment arm
Australasian live entertainment powerhouse TEG has announced the creation of a new content division, TEG Experiences, bringing together its family entertainment, experiential and exhibitions businesses.
The division, a “new force in live family entertainment”, is part of TEG’s global growth strategy, following its recent acquisition of UK-based promoter and venue operator MJR Group.
Dustin Lockett will lead TEG Experiences as managing director. Lockett brings two decades of live entertainment experience to the role, previously serving as commercial director of BBC Studios ANZ and director of Seven West Media’s Red Live Events and Touring.
TEG chief executive Geoff Jones, who has worked with Lockett “several times before”, says he is the “perfect fit” to run TEG Experiences. Lockett will be based in Sydney and starts on 16 October.
Jones, who will produce the family content in partnership with global brands across Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America, comments: “TEG is Asia Pacific’s leading ticketing, live entertainment and technology business and now we are focused on becoming a global live entertainment business.
“TEG is Asia Pacific’s leading ticketing, live entertainment and technology business and now we are focused on becoming a global live entertainment business”
“The formation of TEG Experiences marks the next phase in that strategy. TEG is Australasia’s leader in live family entertainment and of the top three businesses of its kind globally in the fields of theatrical and experiential events. Now is the time for us to build on that position and pool our branded family entertainment assets.”
In addition to producing an array of new and alternative content, TEG Experiences will incorporate existing TEG divisions: live family entertainment show producer Life Like Touring, activation zone supplier the Entertainment Store and Lego-based installation creator Brickman Exhibitions.
Anton Berezin and Theresa Borg, who founded Life Like Touring and the Entertainment Store 20 years ago, are departing their roles as managing director and creative director of the divisions.
Borg will continue to work with TEG as a director and writer on future projects, while Berezin will seek a career as a performer.
TEG organises more than 200 live events a year through its owned promoters, TEG Dainty and TEG Live, and sells more than 28 million tickets annually via Ticketek, one of the ‘big two’ Australasian ticketing companies according to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019.
Govt reveals plans to scrap Sydney lock-out laws
The New South Wales (NSW) government has announced it plans on scrapping Sydney’s controversial lock-out laws at the end of the year, except in the King’s Cross precinct.
A parliamentary committee has been conducting an inquiry into the effects of the lock-out laws, which were introduced in 2014 in response to alcohol-fuelled violence, and the wider night time economy, which will be presented on 30 September.
“I’m more than happy to relax or even repeal the laws depending on the committee’s findings,” NSW premier Galdys Berejiklian announced on Sunday (8 September).
“Community safety will always be a major focus for my government, but we need a balanced approach. Sydney is Australia’s only global city and we need our night-life to reflect that,” said Berejiklian.
The lock-out laws mandate bars, pubs, clubs and music venues set last entry to 1.30 a.m. and stop serving drinks at 3 a.m. The restrictions apply to establishments in the city’s central business district (CBD) and King’s Cross precinct.
“Sydney is Australia’s only global city and we need our night-life to reflect that”
Many, including Live Nation Australasia boss Roger Field and Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore, have stated that the laws have exerted a strong negative impact on the city’s nightlife. The planned changes to the laws have been welcomed by live music professionals.
John Wardle, general manager of music policy advocate Live Music Office, called the potential axing “a milestone in the rebuilding of the cultural and economic nighttime future of the city of Sydney.”
Keep Sydney Open, a grassroots movement opposing the laws, celebrated the decision – “a huge moment” –, while demanding more details about the decision to exclude King’s Cross and on what the changes would entail for venues.
However, the move has been criticised by the president of the Australian Medical Association, along with other medical professionals, as a step backwards for public health.