If You Move In Next To An Established Pub And Complain About The Noise There Is A Special Place In Hell For You

We need agent of change laws everywhere, right now, before every pub and club is turned into apartments.

In most circumstances the government is perfectly happy for you to live with the consequences of your property-location choices.

If you ring the council and say “hey, I moved onto Parramatta Road and all I hear is noisy traffic and I don’t like it!” do you think they’d a) shut the road down, or b) laugh at you for being the sort of person that hates traffic noise and then moves to a major thoroughfare and tell you that you brought this problem on yourself?

Follow up: what do you think would happen if you moved down the road from a garbage dump and then complained about the smell and trucks? Ditto sewerage plants. Ditto abattoirs. Ditto steelworks.

In fact, is there any situation where you could move next to a business and then demand that the already-existing business be shut down because it annoys you? Well, there’s one.

Sydney’s reputation for being absolutely determined to ensure that its residents are all tucked up in bed by nine continues apace with the news that those pubs which have somehow survived four years of lockouts and a $16 billion annual hit to the state nighttime economy now need to close their rooftop bars because new residents in new developments can hear people making merry and want that to end.

Specifically: the new developments near the Kings Cross Hotel have led to a four week ban on balcony-drinking (over Mardi Gras, no less!), with similar bans for the Marlborough Hotel in Newtown and the Royal Oak in Double Bay.

“I can hear a glass clinking – quick, to the council!”

And why would someone move near a pub and then make a complaint about this annoying pub being in proximity?

Well, it’s probably not entitlement or that they’re pure evil, although there’s no reason to rule that out. Just ask the Opera House and their nearby well-heeled residents of the Toaster, who’d like them to shut the hell up.

And not to put too fine a point on it, a resident who manages to get a nearby pub shut will see the value of their own property jump, as houses near licenced premises are normally cheaper because of things like, say, noise. So there’s a direct financial incentive for an unscrupulous developer to make some complaints to council and let the venue comply themselves into bankruptcy.

So this isn’t just a bunch of boomers being jerks – or at least, that’s not the entire story.

Definitely part of it though.

Sydney has so far resisted calls for an “agent of change” law which would effectively say “you moved into the area, you knew what was going on, if you didn’t do your due diligence then it’s not the community’s fault”, but this case just illustrates the urgent need for them.

And hey, NSW, don’t you have a state election coming up?

Bluesfest Is Threatening To Bail On NSW If Gladys Doesn't Wind Back Her Anti-Festival Laws

First they came for the young people, and the NSW government did nothing. Then they came for the festival boomers and now it's ON.

In the last fortnight two NSW music festivals have been axed in the wake of the state government’s new, abrupt and eye-wateringly pricy new compliance measures, ostensibly in the service of stopping drug deaths via a strategy of ensuring that there are no more festivals.

And the two now-dead festivals, Psyfari and Mountain Sounds, are pretty niche and just affect a bunch of young people who the NSW government probably aren’t that worried about annoying.

But now something has happened which might actually affect Liberal voters – which should worry premier Gladys Berejiklian ahead of the election: Byron Bay’s Bluesfest, one of the biggest and most successful annual Australian music festivals, has said it will leave NSW if the laws aren’t wound back.

In an open letter to the NSW government Bluesfest promoter Peter Noble declared that “I am saying now, Bluesfest will leave NSW. We have no choice; it’s a matter of survival. Will the last festival to leave NSW please turn out the light of culture in this soon to be barren state?”

Noble’s letter calls out the government for not consulting with the people who actually put festivals on before bringing the legislation in, pointing out that the final report hasn’t even been released yet.

“Why do you seem to be hell-bent on destroying our industry? We provide culture to the people of this state, and Australia, through our good works. Most festivals haven’t had drug deaths and contribute greatly to our society through presenting well-run, professional, world-class events. Why have we been given zero recognition in this government’s actions?”

“We are the industry professionals, we are the people that are presenting events at the highest levels, I mean Bluesfest has just been inducted into the NSW Tourism Awards hall of fame,” Noble told the ABC. “We are all concerned about people dying from drug overdoses, but in 30 years my festival has never had one and so have the vast majority of festivals, yet we’re all getting tarred with the same brush.”

It also raises a question about another Byron mainstay: Splendour In The Grass, who bought their own site in Byron Bay a few years ago (which is also home to the Byron leg of the Falls Festival) and presumably don’t want to have to make a Queensland trek over to Woodford again, as they did when the site was being established.

This all comes after a report which concluded that NSW is losing out on $16 billion a year thanks to its post-lockout, post-festival nighttime dead zone.

But hey, who can put a price on not having a good time?

There Are New Penalties For NSW Festivals Because This Pill-Testing Blame Won't Shift Itself

Does ending all music festivals in NSW count as a way to make them safer for young people?

Gladys Berejiklian has responded to the spate of music deaths with an announcement that… um, there’ll be more red tape for festival organisers as of March 1.

Hoping to hold a festival? OK: on top of the existing regulations now there will be new obligations including chill out zones and water stations – things which most festivals already do – and the need to get sign off from medical authorities, the police, paramedics and the government. Which, again, already happens as a matter of course under the existing consitions.

What is new, however, is the penalties.

Under the new laws those applying for a permit would need to show adequate “chill out zones” and supply of water – things which festivals currently do, in our experience. On top of this promoters will face fines of up to $110,000 or potentially serve jail time in the event of drug-related injuries or fatalities.

And if you’re thinking “OK, can we not incorporate pill testing into this suite of policies?” then be advised that NOVA’s men of the people Fitzy and Wippa are way ahead of you:

PILL TESTING debate: Fitzy & Gladys Berejiklian

Things got a bit heated in the studio when Gladys Berejiklian and Fitzy discussed the pill-testing debate.

Posted by Fitzy & Wippa on Sunday, 20 January 2019

But will the new laws work? The general consensus appears to be “not without a lot more detail.”

GOAT spoke to several current and former festival promoters who had mixed opinions on the efficacy of pill testing but all agreed that the sudden implementation of vague new laws with no industry consultation was not the way to go.

One echoed a recent interview by Stereosonic promoter Richie McNeill who insisted “It needs real lengthy robust discussion, not quick-fix policy,” adding that it would make it far more difficult to hold events in NSW.

Still, if we get rid of all public events that might attract young people, then young people won’t take drugs at them! It’s win-win, right?

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