NSW’s sound-proofing plan to save live music venues

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The New South Wales (NSW) Government has implemented new noise complaint regulations, and will offer sound-proofing grants, so that live music venues are protected from serial complaints and residents are not disturbed.

Measures were implemented from yesterday (Monday) as part of the government’s agenda to rebuild Sydney’s night-time economy and support live music. 

The noise and licensing reforms include order of occupancy, which will become a central consideration in determining disturbance complaints. It considers whether the licensed venue or the complainant occupied their premises first. The noise complaint process has been simplified, and the number of people required to make a statutory disturbance complaint against a licensed premises will increase from three to five.

Temporary allowances for limited take-away sales of alcohol have bee offered for small bars, and new extended trading applications are available for hotels that schedule live music, or arts and cultural events. There will also be a streamlined consultation process for liquor licence applications.

As the new regulations come into effect, the Venues Unlocked package will deliver grants that support new and existing venues to host more live gigs, while limiting impact on local residents. Soundproofing grants will support 21 venues with up to A$100,000 (£53,000/€62,000/$67,000), while Live Performance Venue grants will support 56 venues with up to A$80,000 for essential equipment, programming and marketing costs. 

“The old NSW sport of moving in next to a music venue and complaining until it gets shut down, is now history. That era is coming to an end,” said NSW Minister for Music and the Night-Time Economy, John Graham.

“The soundproofing and venue support will mean venues can host more live music, whilst reducing the impact on their neighbours. Bit by bit, we are rebuilding Sydney’s night-time economy, venue by venue, neighbourhood by neighbourhood. Bit by bit, we are rebuilding Sydney’s night-time economy, venue by venue, neighbourhood by neighbourhood.

“We made a commitment to increase the number of live music venues across NSW and through ongoing reform and the Venues Unlocked grant programs we are enabling venues to expand their offerings, while also supporting new music venues to get their performance programming off the ground.”

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