NSW could axe controversial new licensing regulations following festival inquiry

  • Published
    Wed, Aug 28, 2019, 04:55
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  • The parliamentary report recommends scrapping the changes introduced back in February.
  • NSW could axe controversial new licensing regulations following festival inquiry image
  • Music festivals in New South Wales could see the state government's polarising licensing regulations abandoned after a parliamentary inquiry delivered a report on the subject today. The 108-page report outlined a number of findings, explaining that the government's consultation process when devising the regulations was "inadequate" and that there has been "significant and unsustainable cost increases for the music festival industry." It goes on to make several recommendations, among them that the Legislative Council "disallow" the regulations entirely and that a "regulatory roundtable for music festivals" should be set up immediately to discuss concerns like user-pays policing and harm reduction training. The inquiry also found that there was no consultation between any government minister and any industry figures before the regulations were announced at midnight on a Friday in February, five days before their implementation. The report comes after weeks of industry and community consultation via the inquiry, which spawned from strong opposition to the suite of tough licensing measures introduced by the NSW state government earlier in the year as a response to drug-related deaths at music festivals over the summer. Dubbed by local media a "war on festivals," the regulations include a very substantial increase in the number of required on-site police officers at festivals to be paid for by festivals directly, in some cases increasing their bills by hundreds of thousands of dollars and forcing several cancellations. The Labor Shadow Minister for Music, John Graham, responded by saying, "I welcome this report and its findings," The Music Network reports. "We don't support the hastily developed music festival licence. It has done tremendous damage to the music sector, here and around the country. Importantly, we need a new regime in place for the upcoming summer festival season. The government should meet with the industry to immediately get this in place." The NSW state Liberal government is yet to comment on the findings. Read the full report on the NSW Parliament website.