NSW bars and clubs to see 600 positive licensing changes

NSW bars and clubs will benefit from sweeping changes to licensing laws that will free up what music venues can play, how they decorate spaces, rules around amplified music and extensions of trading hours without scrutiny from authorities.

There are more than 600 amendments to the current laws that are expected to pass the NSW legislative assembly via partisan work between both major political parties, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

These include;

  • Lifting a ban on live music in various venues not classified as such
  • Lifting the limit of musicians on stage
  • Lifting restrictions on the types of instruments artists can play
  • Lifting restrictions on the direction of bands performing
  • Cutting red tape around live music venue requirements
  • Protect venues from overzealous councils in regards to noise complaints
  • Protect venues from encroaching developments
  • Allow retail stores to hold events with or without music

Adding to this is more freedom for outdoor dining and performances as well as an extra half hour of trade for particular venues as championed by City of Sydney who will also open up new entertainment zones.

A real curve-ball has been the significance of decorations in a venue such as disco balls… yes, disco balls. Amendments to the laws mean venues can now decorate their spaces however they want without certain things such as disco-balls being a sign of a high-risk venue.

Labor spokesperson for the night-time economy John Graham puts it a little more eloquently;

“Mirror balls have been used by regulators as a signal as to whether a venue is risky, the concern has been it might lead to dancing. We don’t accept that – it is not the role of the government to tell people how to decorate their venues,” he said.

NSWs nightlife has long been in a downward spiral following the archaic lockout laws that were introduced in 2014 that crippled the industry in response to a handful of tragic alcohol-related incidents. They were lifted in 2020 following reports that the NSW Government was missing out on almost $27b from the nighttime economy.

Unfortunately, COVID19 restrictions came into place not long after and without much financial support venues across NSW have taken a huge hit. Some of these losses include the closure of long time favourite karaoke spot Ding Dong Dangs and popular night spot Fredas.

We welcome the changes and hope there are some people willing to kick off some new venues to support dance and electronic music in NSW!