A huge investment from Labor is about to transform NSW’s music scene for the better.
Chris Minns is now NSW’s new Labor leader and with that big change is expected in the Music industry. Pre-election Labor pledged to Vote for Music, this policy promises to supercharge the weakened industry.
The aim is to provide support in 3 main ways. This will be done by creating and protecting venues, reducing sexual harm to members of the industry, and supporting the artists themselves.
Venue Investment and Protection:
The bulk of the investment is in reversing the damage of venue closure that occurred during the pandemic. Tragically over the last 12 years, under liberal leadership, music venues in NSW have halved. There are currently only 103 licensed music venues in NSW.
For existing venues measures will be put in place to make it more viable for them to function. Trading hours will be extended, there will be lower licensing fees and a streamlined process for noise complaints will be implemented. The process for noise complaints has often been the death of a venue. Even now, The Great Club, in Marrickville faces closure over the legal fees associated with the noise complaint process.
The creation of new venues is paramount to Labor’s plan for the music industry. Provisions such as combined liquor and planning approvals will be made possible for opening new venues. For those developing new permanent outdoor concert and festival venues, there will be up to $250,000 worth of funding made available. Festivals will also benefit from multi-year approval for events.
New venues are powerhouses for creating new jobs and opportunities. Cedar Mill has proposed a 30,000-person capacity venue in Lake Macquarie. They have estimated that it could generate 2300 jobs and $450 Million each year.
Sexual Harm Reduction:
The second facet of the plan is to tackle the issue of sexual harm reduction in the industry. Dishearteningly, the Raising Their Voices review revealed that 55% of music industry workers had experienced sexual harassment or harm at work. Of this group, 74% were women.
It has been made clear that this funding will only be granted to venues that uphold codes that adhere to the recommendations made from the review, of which there were 100. A total of $4 million will be funneled into continuing to protect the workers in the industry.
Finally, funding will be made available to artists, with an emphasis on creating opportunities for new, grassroots musicians. The onus is on supporting more First Nations music and rebuilding lost technical skills.
A new Contemporary Music Office is set to be established. This office will function in much the same way as Screen Australia, to support and make opportunities for artists.
The Sydney Fringe Festival is going to receive a huge injection of cash. A substantial $700,000 is being put into the festival. This is with the aim of luring in new talent.
Labor will also be giving $2 million to the Support Act, a relief fund for artists who suffered as a result of the pandemic.
The Great Southern Nights initiative, which was constructed to bring live music back to NSW, will be extended until 2026.
A lot of emphases has been put into getting artists touring again. $1.3 million will be invested into the On the Road Again program, which will allow artists to tour, encouraging them to travel within Australia and into regional communities. Another $1.3 million is being promised to the Music Passport incentive, which supports artists touring overseas.
The NSW music scene has suffered many blows over the last few years, but it seems a new start is coming. Hopefully, this will be the break everyone has desperately needed and in time we will see our artists and venues be able to spread their wings and flourish.