Monday, 1 February 2010
Melbourne’s live music culture is being threatened by newly enforced regulation! It’s been front page news in Melbourne’s mainstream and street press media for the last few weeks, has grabbed the attention of the Premier and could well become a 2010 election platform for both the Liberals and Greens.
Media has focused on the plight of a Melbourne live music stalwart, The Tote Hotel, which closed two weeks ago after a long battle with Liquor Licensing over the venues “high risk” classification. The Tote is one of many venues across Melbourne impacted by the enforcement of the regulations and it's not just pubs. Any venue with live music and operating outside the defined "ordinary" trading hours of 9am to 11pm could be considered a ‘high risk venue’ and require higher levels of security compliance, including security staff.
Last week APRA teamed up with local lobbying group Fair Go 4 Live Music to meet with the Minister for Gaming & Consumer Affairs, Tony Robinson. The objective was to highlight to the Victorian Government the detrimental effect that the enforcement of liquor licensing compliance is having on entertainment venues - specifically venues that have been operating successfully without issue until the creation of the Compliance Inspectorate.
The Minister reinforced that he was limited in his ability to assist, given the ‘separation of powers' and advising that he was not able to interfere with the Liquor Licensing Commission. The group challenged this position and requested that he urgently meet with the Director of the Liquor Licensing Commission to discuss the arbitrary manner in which regulations were being imposed and which ignored the cultural and economic impacts.
APRA advised the Minister that venue based live music in Victoria was worth approximately $30m annually in payments to live artist performers. The value of the wider live music economy, including venue staff, production and management would be considerably greater.
The Minister agreed to investigate the issue over the next three weeks, reviewing specific venue examples to be provided by the group. The Minister confirmed that he would also meet with the Director of Liquor Licensing to discuss the manner in which the regulations were being enforced. A meeting was to be scheduled for mid-February to further review the situation.
In the interim the lobby group has amassed 11,000 signatures on a petition which requests that:
The Government formulate a cultural policy that promotes and maintains Melbourne as Australia’s capital for live music.
For up to date information on the issue, please visit our social media spaces:
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