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Music Industry Fighting Back Against ‘Fee Free’ Regulation

Music events, common across the AU and the world, are great for companies that handle marquee hire in Brisbane and across the country, and the NSW government is aware of that fact, with a new regulation reportedly aimed at promoting the music scene.

Gladys Berejiklian’s government announced that licenses for low-risk music festivals in NSW will be free under the government’s new licensing scheme. The scheme is set to start on March 1, with Minister for Racing Paul Toole saying that the state’s vibrant music scene needs to be protected and promoted, and this scheme was aimed towards that.

He adds that festival operators that have been operating properly, with no safety issues in their history should feel minimal changes, if any, from the new scheme, aimed at making festivals safer.

The music industry’s groups, however, have criticised the scheme, saying that its excessive regulation on the part of the government. Early in February, some of the biggest names in Aussie music, like Vance Joy and Bernard Fanning, signed an open letter against the regulation, saying that the government is killing live music in the country.

Singer-songwriter Olympia, who’ll be performing at a rally with Ocean Alley and the Rubens, also spoke on the matter, saying that the government’s actions are a ‘knee-jerk reaction’, and cultural attrition; less opportunity for artists to play, she says, means that there’ll be less artists.

Toole defended the new regulations, saying that its important to remember that every event is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, explaining that there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to risk assessment, just like there’s no such approach to marquee hire in Brisbane and across the country.

The regulation, which came just hours before the Don’t Kill Live Music rally in Sydney, will have festivals that are deemed ‘low risk’ by the government will have their licensing fee waived, while those that aren’t will still have to pay the full $650 fee, which the government explains is close to the cost of the special event licence fee most operators are already paying.

These regulations were introduced by the Berejiklian government as responses to a string of drug-related deaths at music festivals, which gave been blamed, in part, to the cancellation of popular NSW events.

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