The NSW Liberal Government is waging war on festivals and culture. Festivals are worth $1.8 billion dollars a year to the economy. Artists, DJs, suppliers, stage crew, workers, DJs, food vendors, stall holders, truckies and all the local towns that rely on festival tourism will have their livelihoods affected.
Festivals are also really fun.
Parliament recently snuck through an amendment to the Liquor Act meaning that festivals — even those that do not sell alcohol — have to apply for a license up to 20 times more expensive than they do at present. This can be arbitrarily knocked back with no explanation and no recourse to appeal. The approval process will blow out from 28 to 90 days. These extra financial and administrative burdens will lock small to medium festivals out of the market.
The most concerning aspect of this new festivals license is that the conditions attached to them are yet unknown, but there is an indication that the requirements will decimate the industry.
By making this law an amendment to an existing law, the NSW Government avoided the necessary regulatory impact analysis and industry consultation that usually goes with a piece of new legislation. We believe that any study into this callous crackdown on music festivals will reveal a devastating impact on music, jobs and youth culture across NSW.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian is also using the NSW Police's user-pays system as a way to raise revenue for the state and as an instrument to pressure smaller festivals to cancel. The costs demanded have increased by over 1000% for some festivals in recent months, and are 10 times more expensive than in Victoria.
This has already forced some festivals to cancel or move interstate, with other major festivals threatening to do the same.
This poor attempt to rush through legislation before an election will have a deep impact on culture, freedom and jobs across NSW, all because Premier Gladys Berejiklian refuses to implement pill testing even though the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Australian Medical Association support these sensible harm-reduction measures.
The panel that devised the new license scheme were banned from discussion pill testing while devising their festival policies.
Sign this petition to demand:
- a repeal of the 2018 Liquor Act amendment requiring a festival liquor license
- a sacking of the ILGA board to be replaced with health and industry experts
- a roundtable with industry representatives to devise festival safety policy
- clear user-pays police guidelines that echo the presence of police in Victoria
- an end to the sniffer dog regime at music festivals
- an end to fines and criminal penalties for drug possession for personal use and replaced with health programs
- the implementation of harm reduction measures such as pill testing