Arts election policy of NSW State Labor Party, 2019

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The NSW Labor Party, in the context of the imminent state election, announced its music policy. This appeared to have been put together on the basis of the report of a state government all-party inquiry into the music industry.

Accordingly, the policy is almost entirely about the contemporary music industry. We would like to see inclusion of all music – contemporary music, art music in its various forms, ‘multicultural’ music. Mention is made of music education but the promise is mostly for a review but not yet, support. Nevertheless, there is a window of opportunity there. 

Appended as the final section of this music industry policy is an ‘arts policy’, a welcome but very sketchy set of financial commitments directed mostly to capital works.

Included there is $40 million to create a ‘Regional Conservatorium Fund’, purpose unspecified. The Music Trust checked with the regional conservatoriums; their first knowledge of this commitment was when they read about it in the press and they were not consulted. Nevertheless, it is a commitment publicly made so there is a basis for agitation if needed.

Meanwhile, the NSW Liberal government has been berated by the national (but Melbourne-based) Live Performance Australia for policies LPA claims are destructive of the music industry. These are policies concerned only with the policing of drug-taking at festivals. The Liberal Party, as usual, did not produce an arts policy.

Here is NSW Labor’s music policy for the 2019 state election.

Live music is in crisis

NSW has a music venue crisis. This was the official finding of a Parliamentary Inquiry into the Music and Arts Economy.[1]

There are now fewer entertainment premises in NSW than when the Liberals and Nationals were elected in 2011.[2]

Over the last four years, 176 potential live music venues have closed in Sydney.[3] These closures have impacted the live music scene in Sydney and destroyed potential career pathways for young performers throughout NSW.

The Inquiry found the causes of the music venue crisis include the burden placed on venues by regulations such as:

  • Planning laws; 
  • Liquor licences; and 
  • Noise regulations. 

In some cases, the unnecessary complexity of these regulatory systems may discourage venues from holding live performances. In other cases, these regulations may ban live music altogether.

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Labor will invest a total of $35 million to support music in NSW

Michael Daley and Labor will invest $35 million to save the NSW music scene.

Labor’s plan will implement recommendations developed by the Parliamentary Inquiry into Music and the Arts Economy.

The Inquiry found funding for contemporary music was:

  • Less than $4 million in NSW over the last four years; 
  • $27 million in Victoria over the last four years.[4] 

The Inquiry recommended NSW invest $35 million to support contemporary music. [5] Labor will deliver this investment.

Labor’s plan to invest $35 million to support contemporary music will make NSW the leading state supporting the music industry. Labor’s plan will:

  • Create more opportunities for artists; 
  • Support jobs and industries associated with live music and music festivals; and 
  • Ensure music fans across NSW can enjoy the most vibrant music scene in Australia. 

Labor will invest $1.6 million to support music communities

Labor’s first priority will be to protect the music scene we have, and then to help it to grow.

There are seven areas in NSW which have a strong music tradition:

  • Sydney’s CBD and inner west; 
  • Western Sydney; 
  • South Western Sydney; 
  • Newcastle and the Hunter Region; 
  • The Illawarra; 
  • The North Coast – Australia’s music festival capital; and 
  • Tamworth – the home of country music in Australia. 

Labor will:

  • Support each of these seven areas to achieve designation as a “Music Community”; 
  • Invest $1.6 million for immediate local priorities to protect and support the music scene in these Music Communities; and 
  • Support other communities in NSW to achieve the Music Community designation. 

The Music Community designation will:

  • Recognise a community that values and respects music; 
  • Recognise a community’s musical heritage and traditions; and 
  • Recognise the importance of particular venues and institutions in a community’s music scene. 

Labor will work with local councils and other stakeholders in each Music Community to:

  • Promote the Music Community and the attributes which make its music scene distinct; 
  • Remove bans and restrictions on entertainment; 
  • Establish planning frameworks which protect and promote music venues; 
  • Support all-ages events and access to music for young people; and 
  • Apply for funding from NSW and Commonwealth programs which support artists, regional development, small businesses and tourism. 

Labor will develop formal guidelines which to set a threshold for other communities in NSW to achieve the Music Community designation.

Labor will invest $11.5 million to support working musicians

Labor will support musicians from NSW by providing funding to support artists, managers and promoters.

To support musicians, Labor will:

  • Create a new $1.3 million Music Passport program to help musicians from NSW to tour internationally; 
  • Create a new $5.1 million Band Aid program to help musicians record and tour regionally and nationally, and for industry professional development; and 
  • Invest $4 million to establish a new Music Industry Office. 

Labor’s new $1.3 million Music Passport program will be developed in consultation with Sounds Australia, an initiative which promotes Australian artists overseas.

Sounds Australia reports that:

  • The NSW Government spends around $8,200 each year to showcase one artist from NSW internationally; and 
  • The Victorian Government spends around $327,000 each year to showcase 30 artists from Victoria internationally.[6]

The new Music Industry Office will:

  • Be developed in consultation with the music sector; 
  • Be headquartered in a new home for music – a Music Development Hub – which Labor will create; and 
  • Contribute to the development and implementation of a Plan for Contemporary Music. 

Labor will also:

  • Support awareness campaigns regarding the importance of musicians receiving fair pay, including the development of an Industry Code of Conduct; and 
  • Support the Australian Live Performance Industry Code of Practice to Prevent Workplace Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Bullying developed by the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance and Live Performance Australia.[7] 

Labor will fund and support its programs to be delivered by industry, with appropriate governance and reporting arrangements.

Labor will invest up to $10 million to create a new home for music in Sydney

Labor will invest up to $10 million to create a new Music Development Hub in NSW.

One study estimated the music sector contributes at least $6 billion to Australia’s economy each year.[8]

Another study has found that in 2016, the Australian music industry (including theatrical productions) contributed approximately $10 billion dollars to the Australian economy and employed more than 90,000 people.[9]

The Music Development Hub will provide a permanent home for the music scene in NSW.

The Hub which will co-locate the Music Industry Office with:

  • Music organisations; 
  • Businesses; 
  • Rehearsal and performance spaces; 
  • Community radio; 
  • Writing and recording studios; and 
  • Youth programming. 

In addition to investing $10 million to create the new Music Development Hub, Labor will seek contributions from local government and a Shorten Federal Labor Government to deliver this project.

Labor will invest $3 million to keep live music venues open

Labor will invest $3 million to keep live music venues open.

Labor will provide grants:

  • To help venues promote themselves as live music venues; 
  • As a contribution to soundproofing venues; 
  • As a contribution to investing in infrastructure to support live music performances, including audio and lighting equipment. 

Labor will invest $1.3 million to rebuild touring circuits

The Parliamentary Inquiry into Music and the Arts Economy found the crisis for live music venues in NSW was impacting the national and regional touring circuits.[10]

Labor will rebuild the regional touring circuit by:

  • Investing $320,000 to launch a new ‘On the Road Again’ program; and 
  • Investing $1 million to extend funding for the Live and Local micro-festival program. 

‘On the Road Again’ will take bookers and agents to regional towns to expose them to local venues and artists.

The Live and Local program will focus on funding regional and suburban events.

Labor’s policies to support live music venues will help to rebuild Sydney as the premier destination on the national touring circuit.

Labor will invest $4 million to support music festivals and events

Labor will invest $4 million to support music festivals and events in NSW.

As part of this investment, Labor will:

  • Expand support for ARIA Week and the ARIA Awards in NSW through Destination NSW; 
  • Provide $700,000 to the Sydney Fringe Festival; and 
  • Create a NSW Music Week/Awards to specifically showcase musicians from NSW. Labor will consult with the industry about the timing of this event. 

Labor’s investment will stop NSW being left behind other states:

  • The Melbourne Fringe Festival currently receives $367,000 of support from the Victorian Government, while the Sydney Fringe receives almost no support from the NSW Government;[11] and 
  • Queensland and Victoria have dedicated events to showcase musicians from their states, while NSW does not.[12]

In addition to investing $4 million, Labor will improve the regulation of festivals. The Parliamentary Inquiry into Music and the Arts Economy found:

  • The regulatory environment for festivals is so complex that organisers believe they cannot afford the cost of navigating regulatory burdens without public funding; and 
  • Festival organisers are frustrated by having to make annual licence applications for events which do not change significantly year after year.[13]

Labor will ensure any new licence process is streamlined to ensure that approvals are provided in a timely manner. This will mean organisers can spend less time on regulatory matters and more time creating the best and safest experience for audiences.

Event organisers with an established record will be able to obtain multi-year approvals for festivals. This will provide certainty and allow long-term planning for organisers.

Labor will invest $1 million to support community radio

The community radio sector plays an important role in the NSW music scene:

  • There are more than 100 community radio stations in NSW; and 
  • More than 5.7 million Australians listen to community radio stations each week.[14] 

Labor will directly fund country radio for the first time by investing $1 million to help community radio stations showcase NSW musicians. This funding will help community radio stations with programs including:

  • The broadcast of live performances from local venues and music festivals; and 
  • Competitions for emerging artists. 

Labor will also change the NSW Government’s advertising guidelines to place a greater share of NSW Government advertising on community radio stations where appropriate. This change was recommended by the Parliamentary Inquiry into Music and the Arts Economy.[15]

Labor will undertake further initiatives to support music

Labor will undertake additional initiatives to support music in NSW including:

  • Funding a new youth music organisation to work with MusicNSW’; 
  • Considering funding music conferences to engage with the international music and night time economy sectors; 
  • Ensuring funding guidelines to recognise that music is a powerful way to tell First Nations stories; 
  • Ensuring funding guidelines reflect this Labor’s commitment to gender equality; and 
  • Ensuring Create NSW employs a senior contemporary music expert. 

Labor will support music education

Labor will work with the music industry to develop mentoring programs for music education at school. As part of this program, Labor will trial the purchase of musical instruments for ten schools in Western Sydney or rural and regional NSW.

Labor will formally review the provision of music education in NSW on coming to Government.

Labor will conduct a Live Music Census

A Daley Labor Government will conduct a Live Music Census to gather objective data regarding the live music scene in NSW.

The NSW Government does not collect basic information on the live music industry in NSW.

A Daley Labor Government will conduct a Live Music Census every two years, as recommended by the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Music and Arts Economy.[16]

  • The Live Music Census will be conducted independently of the NSW Government. 
  • The Census will report statistics including: 
  • The number of live music venues; 
  • The number of music performances; 
  • The number of working musicians; and 
  • The number of hospitality workers. 

Live Music Censuses have previously been conducted in Melbourne and Newcastle.[17]

The Census will:

  • Make public valuable data to guide decisions by performers, venues and local councils; and 
  • Inform future policy decisions Labor will take in government to support live music. 

Labor will give musicians a Right to Play

A Daley Labor Government will introduce the principle of a Right to Play for musicians, by amending the Liquor Act 2007 (NSW) to:

  • Require decisions made under the Liquor Act to take account of the availability of employment opportunities for musicians; 
  • Sweep away outdated liquor licence conditions which impose arbitrary restrictions on live entertainment; and 
  • Introduce a new class of liquor licence specifically for venues which are dedicated to live entertainment. 

The Right to Play will address bans and restrictions on live music imposed by liquor licence conditions.

669 liquor licences impose conditions which either ban or restrict live entertainment.[18]

Current restrictions of live entertainment include:

  • “Entertainment is to be restricted to Solo Artists, Duo’s, Trio’s, [SIC] Cover Bands, Jazz Groups but not Hard Rock Bands or any bands or group emitting noise levels (when measured in the center of the dance floor) greater than 90dB(A).” 
  • “Music to be provided by not more than a three (3) piece musical ensemble.” 
  • “Entertainment provided at the Hotel will be restricted to Folk Music provided by no more than two (2) persons, and no drum music will be amplified.” 

Labor believes that conditions such as these are outdated and arbitrary.

Other legislation already provides a legal framework to regulate noise.[19]

Labor will create a one-stop shop for noise complaints

Seven bodies currently regulate noise for live music venues:

  • Liquor & Gaming NSW; 
  • Local councils; 
  • The NSW Police Force; 
  • The NSW Environment Protection Authority; 
  • The Department of Planning and Environment; 
  • Roads and Maritime Services; and 
  • Property NSW.[20]

This complex regulatory environment results in uncertainty:

  • Local residents with legitimate concerns may be uncertain which agency to approach; and 
  • Venues may be uncertain as to what different agencies allow, and so they opt not to hold live performances. 

A Daley Labor Government will end this uncertainty by establishing a one-stop shop for noise complaints.

The one-stop shop for noise complaints will:

  • Provide one place where residents and venues can obtain advice; 
  • Allow NSW to simplify noise regulations by adopting objective measures for sound emissions for venues; 
  • Remove unnecessary regulations which discourage venues from holding live performances; 
  • Make it easier for residents with legitimate concerns to make complaints; and 
  • Stop serial complainants shopping between regulators to force venues to shut-down. 

A Daley Labor Government will also provide $1.2 million to help venues install soundproofing. Venues that receive these funds will be required to make a matching contribution.

Labor will create a one‑stop shop for planning and liquor licence approvals

A Daley Labor Government will create a one-stop shop for venues to obtain planning and liquor approvals. This will:

  • Streamline the approval process for venues; and 
  • Provide one comprehensive consultation process for the community. 

By streamlining these processes, Labor aims to significantly reduce waiting times for planning and liquor approvals.

The Parliamentary Inquiry into the Music and Arts Economy made several detailed recommendations which relate to the NSW planning system.[21]
  1. The music and arts economy in New South Wales – Final Report, Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 6, 15 November 2018, p. 34
  2. Measuring the Australian Night Time Economy 2016-2017, Ingenium Research, 14 September 2018, pp. 33-34
  3. ’What the hell is going on in Sydney?’ 176 venues disappear, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 May 2018
  4. The music and arts economy in New South Wales – Final Report, Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 6, 15 November 2018, p. 26
  5. The music and arts economy in New South Wales – Final Report, Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 6, 15 November 2018, p. 26
  6. The Music and arts economy in New South Wales - Final Report, NSW Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 6 – Planning and Environment, 15 November 2018, p. 27
  7. New guidelines to prevent discrimination, harassment and bullying in the performing arts, Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance, 8 August 2018
  8. Estimating the value of the music sector, Music in Australia, 26 April 2014
  9. The Economic Contribution of Australia’s Copyright Industries: 2002 -2016, PwC, September 2017, p. 13 and p. 23
  10. The music and arts economy in New South Wales – Final Report, Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 6, 15 November 2018, p. 34
  11. The music and arts economy in New South Wales – Final Report, Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 6, 15 November 2018, p. 174
  12. Queensland Music Awards: www.queenslandmusicawards.com.au; Melbourne Music Week: mmw.melbourne.vic.gov.au
  13. The music and arts economy in New South Wales – Final Report, Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 6, 15 November 2018, p. 173
  14. The music and arts economy in New South Wales – Final Report, Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 6, 15 November 2018, p. 178
  15. The music and arts economy in New South Wales – Final Report, Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 6, 15 November 2018, p. 181
  16. The Music and arts economy in New South Wales - Final Report, NSW Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 6 – Planning and Environment, 15 November 2018, p. 145
  17. Melbourne Live Music Census 2017 Report, Music Victoria, April 2018; Newcastle Live Music Census Sydney, Report by the Newcastle Live Music Taskforce and the Live Music Office, 19 November 2018
  18. The Music and arts economy in New South Wales - Final Report, NSW Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 6 – Planning and Environment, 15 November 2018, p. 126-127
  19. The Music and arts economy in New South Wales - Final Report, NSW Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 6 – Planning and Environment, 15 November 2018, p. 145
  20. he music and arts economy in New South Wales – Final Report, Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 6, 15 November 2018, p. 145
  21.  Labor supports these recommendations in principle, including proposals to introduce an “agent of change” principle and designated Entertainment Precincts into the planning system. A Daley Labor Government will convene a regulatory reform roundtable to consult on the best way to implement these recommendations. A Daley Labor Government will request the Live Music Office assist with this implementation process.

    Labor will coordinate government support for live music

    A Daley Labor Government will coordinate NSW Government policies which affect live music venues. Labor will:

    • Appoint a Minister for Music and the Night Time Economy; 
    • Appoint a Night Life Commissioner; 
    • Release a Plan for Contemporary Music within our first 100 days in office; and 
    • Establish a permanent Night-Time Economy Roundtable to develop policies which encourage a vibrant and safe night-time economy. 

    Labor will support art and culture throughout NSW

    Labor’s plan to support the music industry is part of Labor’s vision to make NSW one of the most culturally vibrant societies in the world.

    Labor will:

    • Invest $500 million to create a new world-class cultural institution at Parramatta in consultation with the community; 
    • Establish a $100 million Arts and Cultural Fund for Western Sydney; 

    Invest an additional $100 million to double funding available through the Regional Cultural Fund;

    • Continue with plans to redevelop the Riverside Theatre; 
    • Invest $40 million to create a Regional Conservatorium Fund; 
    • Provide $12 million to help Gosford City Council build a new performing arts centre; 
    • Provide an additional $3 million a year for three years to expand the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s outreach to Western Sydney and rural and regional NSW; and 
    • Provide up to $3 million toward the $9.5 million plan to revive the Victoria Theatre as a new 1,000 seat theatre in Newcastle’s city centre. 

    Author

    NSW State Labor Party


    DATE Uploaded 25 March 2019

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