The NSW Government has announced its Vibrancy Reforms, which aim to boost night-time entertainment zones and live music, with many key industry bodies welcoming the proposals.

The package of reforms will be introduced to Parliament and contain a raft of measures that are designed to reduce red-tape and over-regulation and stimulate a vibrant, diverse and safe night-time economy.

Michael Rodrigues, the NSW 24-Hour Economy Commissioner said: “This reform package is a fantastic step towards enhancing the night-time offerings across our city, and the state. The state has changed a lot in the past decade but the problem is the regulations have not and they don’t reflect what people expect from a modern going out experience.

“We’re on a mission to remove unnecessary burden on venues so that they can focus more on customer experience and spend less time battling red tape. We want to create a more flexible environment for trading – to allow outdoor dining when the weather calls for it. Music into the wee hours when your favourite band comes to town. To shut streets for festivals that bring the community together, without wasting time and money on unnecessary and duplicative processes. But none of these changes should come at the expense of public safety which remains the core objective of my Office.

“And a main regulator for noise complaints for licensed premises is a better outcome for venues as well as the community. The current system doesn’t serve anyone well.

“I want to thank the many industry experts who have helped us shape the reform package. It’s now up to parliament to make the call on whether we can get it across the line in time for summer.”

Night Time Industries Association CEO Mick Gibb, welcomed the reforms as a clear statement from the NSW Government that the night-time economy is a key part of the state’s success.

“The Vibrancy Reforms announced by the NSW Government herald the beginning of a new era for the night-time economy in NSW,” Gibb said.

“This is a clear statement of intent from the State Government that the night-time economy matters. This is a foundation which industry, Government, regulators and key stakeholders can build upon.

“The NTIA is delighted to see the Government stick to its election commitment and make the 24-Hour Economy Commissioner’s role a statutory appointment. This is a measure that will mean there’s a champion for the night-time economy embedded into the Government so we can avoid ever going back to the devastation of lockout laws while maintaining public safety at all times.

“If NSW is going to realise the full potential of these reforms we need Local Governments to get behind the suite of options at their disposal. By creating vibrant, diverse and safe Special Entertainment Precincts a local council can shape the type of night-time ecosystem it wants to create for its community.”

AHA NSW Director of Liquor and Policing John Green said: “These are common sense measures which will give a much-needed boost to live music in pubs.”

Independent Bars Association President Karl Schlothauer also welcomed the reforms, saying: “It is great to see the Government, come good on their election commitment by making the 24-Hour Economy Commissioner’s role a statutory appointment, having a permanent body within government championing the night is not only a good thing for industry it also great for locals and visitors to our wonderful state.

“The regulatory landscape that independent and small operators have to navigate is complex, contains duplication and inefficiencies and a lack of clarity across the different regulatory authorities. This is a good step in helping streamline the process and provide a bit of clarity for our members about who does what.

“The IBA and its members look forward to engaging and consulting with Government and regulators as the reforms are implemented.”

ClubsNSW CEO Rebecca Riant said the club industry is passionate about supporting local artists and hosting live music and other entertainment for the benefit of their communities, and that the announced reforms will remove some of the barriers clubs often face when doing so.

“From Dunedoo Sports Club’s annual Tunes on the Turf music festival to the bowling green that Leichhardt Bowling Club has transformed into an outdoor dining and entertainment space, our industry is always looking for new ways to support local artists and businesses, and keep their communities vibrant and engaged,” Riant said.

“We thank the NSW Government for including ClubsNSW in the consultation process for these reforms and for reducing some of the red tape for clubs when it comes to trading and hosting live entertainment. The changes announced will make a huge difference for clubs looking to diversify their offerings and we look forward to working with the government more closely for the betterment of our industry and the broader community.”

The NSW Government said it will be spending in excess of $58m in 2023–2024 on supporting this work and will be seeking co-funding from the hospitality and entertainment sector.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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