Government Caving In?

There have been quite a few signs the government is changing its tune. I hope they are, and that it goes further than a cosmetic "we saved the Tote".

I've updated the following pages, with information and links from the past few days.: Government attitude, Sue MacLellan’s attitude and the Links page. You’ll find Jon Faine’s radio interview of Sue MacLellan about fees in there.

Cheers - Robin

Government Attitude

I've added a section to this website today about the government's attitude to the damage they are doing to Victoria's music culture.

The new section is here: Government attitude

There are pages about Premier John Brumby, liquor licensing boss Sue MacLellan, and also about the debacle being endured by Swords Wine at the Vic market.

I've also added some info about changes to venue capacities, on the Pubs page.

An item in Crikey yesterday suggested the government were about to change their ways, and start being realistic about license conditions.

Here's hoping for a quick resolution.

Cheers - Robin

License Fee Hikes

I've aded a new page today about changes to liquor licence fees. Information is starting to come out, now that the fees have been in place for about 3 weeks.

This is a much wider issue than music venues, but I do think the new structure shows the utter incompetence of the State Government and Liquor Licensing, and THAT is relevant to music venues, at the moment.

Here's the new page: Fees. I've also added more fallout to the Fallout page, and links to the Links page.

By now you probably know that Chris Morris the owner of the Tote building is in talks to keep it running—there's a Chris Morris Rocks Facebook fan page!

Chris on the Tote:
"It has a huge reputation in Melbourne and it's just been fascinating seeing all the commentary and the reaction of people and the Facebook sites and everything else.
"Therefore we have no desire for it to close down and we just hope it can continue in its current form and we're pretty confident that will happen."

Well good!

Hope this flows on to all the other music venues affected.

Cheers - Robin

The Tote Closes

The Tote Collingwood
So today the publican at The Tote announces The Tote is closing. He says the liquor license conditions make it impossible to keep going.

Apparently the State Government believes that the MUSIC at The Tote could cause the type of violence found at CBD nightclubs, because the draconian conditions on The Tote’s license only come into effect if there is live music. What a joke.

Here’s the press release from Bruce Milne, publican:

It’s last drinks at the Tote. This weekend.
I know it’s sudden. I didn’t plan it to be like that.
I can’t afford to keep fighting Liquor Licensing. The “high risk” conditions they have placed on the Tote’s license make it impossible to trade profitably. I can’t afford the new “high risk” fees they have imposed. I can’t afford to keep fighting them at VCAT. I can’t renegotiate a lease in this environment.
So, come into the Tote this weekend to say farewell to the sad staff and to feel the sticky carpet for the last time.
I don’t believe the Tote is a “high risk” venue, in the same category as the nightclubs that make the news for all the wrong reasons. Despite being on a rough little corner of Collingwood, the Tote has had very, very few incidents. As a local police officer once said, “The Tote’s the quietest pub in the area.” (!).
It’s not dumb luck that the Tote has escaped serious violence. I believe the business has been run responsibly. People don’t come to the Tote to fight. They come because they have a passion for music and love to be in an historic venue that reeks of that same passion.
The Tote is (sorry, was) an important cornerstone of Melbourne’s rich and diverse music community. It’s too late to save the Tote but not too late to try and save other inner city venues that are feeling the same pressures.
I know the sudden closure affects a lot of people. Most importantly, the hard-working staff that are being forced onto the dole queue. And the bands and artists that have had their gigs pulled from under them.
Anyway, I don’t want to get maudlin (or viciously angry). The era of the Tote is over. If you love the place, come and have a beer with us this weekend.

Bruce Milne

So The Tote is seen as a “high risk” venue. Funny, I felt totally safe at the Tote… I think because it had music. Would I go into one of those yucko pubs on a corner somewhere, those ones with no music? Naah - I wouldn’t feel safe.

~ Robin