Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition

The Liberal Nationals Coalition believes that a healthy live music scene will directly inhibit the alcohol-related violence Victoria has seen growing over the last decade.

~ from Liquor Licensing election policy 2010, page 15

The Agreement between music and the ALP
The Coalition won state government in November 2010, just after the ALP govt had signed an agreement with the music sector that would have ended the linking of music with violence in liquor licensing regulations. The agreement, if acted on, would have also made significant headway towards protecting music venues from gentrification (developments = noise complaints). The music sector is calling on the Coalition to honour the agreement made with the previous government.

Read about the agreement here.

The Coalition
All through the campaign run by music representatives to fix the problems, the Liberals and Nationals have supported their views. For example, the new Premier Ted Baillieu had this to say back when the accord was signed early 2010: ''It's up to John Brumby to put in place regulations so that risk, when it is assessed, is actually acted upon. When you've got folk music requiring two security guards it's clearly a nonsense.’’ Source: Live music accord a partial victory.

There was also the rather prominent support for the campaign by Coalition members holding up large placards in the steps of Parliament at the SLAM rally.

Liquor licensing policy
The Coalition put out a policy before the election that wholeheartedly supports music and the changes the music representatives want. It’s now up to the Coalition government to act on this policy. Here it is:

From page 5:
Live music venues like the Tote in Collingwood were forced to close and others faced massive security bills or had to stop supporting live music due the Government’s enforcement of little used security requirements on live music venues. This was in spite of the Government’s own reports showing no link between alcohol-related violence and live music and many of the businesses having no record of violence.

From page 14:
A Liberal Nationals Coalition Government will:
  • Amend the objects of liquor licensing legislation to reflect that live music is an important part of the hospitality industry and the wider community.
  • Ensure that blanket high-risk conditions do not apply to licensed venues featuring live music but that venues are assessed on their circumstances.
  • Establish a permanent live music industry roundtable that will bring together liquor licensing, Victoria Police, music industry representatives, live music venues and Government to ensure that significant liquor licensing issues involving live music can be discussed quickly and effectively.

From pages 15 and 16:
The Liberal Nationals Coalition believes that a healthy live music scene will directly inhibit the alcohol-related violence Victoria has seen growing over the last decade.

Labor’s decisions on liquor licensing have meant that iconic live music venues have been forced to close, while other venues have been forced either to cancel gigs or hire extra security, passing on the costs to the music lovers.

Labor’s botched “one size fits all” laws mean that anomalies abound. One venue in outer suburban Melbourne featuring a Sunday afternoon jazz band (led by a 90 year old) was told it must hire eight security staff in order for the band to be permitted to play. A Greek restaurant in Chapel St, Prahran was required to have security staff before its bouzouki player could serenade diners.

Labor’s system isn’t protecting the public, but it almost killed off live music in this state.

In response to the public backlash against the effect of its policies, the Labor Government has made noises about changing its arrangements, but has not introduced one piece of legislation to Parliament to do so.

Labor’s “one size fits all” approach has led to inappropriate conditions being imposed on low risk activities. We will require that live music licence conditions be determined according to all relevant risk factors to ensure that community safety and amenity is safeguarded without unnecessarily limiting opportunities for live music.

The new government needs to act on its policy. As of June 2011, only four venues have had their licence conditions changed (and only two of these, the Tote and the Railway, has been since the Baillieu government came into power).