NSW Labor is preparing to challenge the new regulations the State Government applied to “high risk” music festivals after organisers said the laws unfairly target live music events.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports John Graham, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Music and Major Events, moved a disallowance motion last week calling for the regulations to be wound back.
The safety and security regulations, which were introduced by Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s government in February after a spate of deaths at NSW music festivals, require organisers to pay for extra security measures and medical personnel on-site.
By and large, organisers said they were already ensuring safe environments for punters – and that the extra costs could force smaller festivals to close up entirely.
At the time, an Australian Festival Association spokesperson said “the Berejiklian government has adopted a chaotic policy on the run approach to the issue of festival safety,” adding “we can’t have any confidence in a government which issues new policy announcements to the media first and by SMS”.
Laneway Festival – one of the events alerted to its “high risk” status by late-night text – also launched a scathing attack on the new regulations. Organiser Danny Rogers called the regulations “a short-sighted political move that panders to the conservative media and vote.”
That motion will face its first test when Parliament resumes on May 28, and key industry bodies are reportedly at work trying to convince crossbench pollies to back Labor’s move.
For the motion to pass the upper house, Labor needs to garner the support of at least seven crossbenchers. Cate Faehrmann, one of three Greens in the Legislative Council, has previously criticised the regulations, saying they “may still drive many of these bigger festivals interstate or force them to shut down altogether.”
The SMH reports Labor is also hoping for support from ex-Green Justin Field, who now sits as an independent after expressing his willingness to work with the government. The Animal Justice Party‘s two MLC members are potential backers, too.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers members Mark Banasiak and Robert Borsak may lend their support, given their party’s continual opposition to the state’s lock out laws.
Things don’t look too promising from other sectors of the crossbench though, if earlier statements by One Nation’s Mark Latham are anything to go by:
The solution to drug-related deaths at music festivals is to make these events drug-free: more sniffer dogs, more policing, more searching, tougher penalties – not a surrender to the druggies by testing their pathetic pills.
They should be music festivals, not drug festivals.
— Real Mark Latham (@RealMarkLatham) December 30, 2018
Watch this space.