19 November 2020

Dr MARJORIE O'NEILL (Coogee) (13:42:01): I am happy to contribute to the motion moved by the member for Manly. Unfortunately, the Government's 24-hour Economy Strategy fails to adequately address the issues at hand and leaves many stakeholders, businesses and punters out in the cold. Labor wants to see the soul returned to Sydney, as well as towns and cities across New South Wales, but the Government's strategy to date falls short. In his motion the member for Manly says that the strategy is designed to grow and support jobs in the hospitality, tourism, retail and arts sectors. If that is the case and the Government is serious about having an impact on these sectors then the strategy must support live music and must include the removal of live music bans. I take this moment to acknowledge a local band from my area,Gully Days, who I have been speaking with.

Mr Geoff Provest: That's what's on the T-shirt.

Dr MARJORIE O'NEILL: Yes, it is. They are a little local band straight out of Bronte that I have been working with quite closely recently. They have been struggling as venues have been shut down and restrictions have curbed their capacity to perform. They have been doing a great job creating their own venues but they want to see the return of live music. What we propose is commonsense. Supporting live music is a chunky solution to injecting much needed stimulus into the arts, hospitality, tourism and retail sectors. Here is just one example why this should be done. Tim Freedman is not only one of the Labor movement's favourite sons, he is also the lead singer of one of Australia's most iconic bands, The Whitlams. Tim is currently on tour in New South Wales to promote the band's new single. The tour has 15 dates between November and January, visiting 12 different New South Wales electorates. Wherever this tour goes it provides work for travelling crews and local crews in each location.

The audience members come from across the State, choosing to design holidays around this fantastic live show. However, due to the Government's restrictive legislation limiting live music in Sydney, there are very few of Tim's performances in Sydney at all. It is great for the regions but not great for Sydney. I would love to see him performing in the eastern suburbs at Selina's, bringing back one of Sydney's great venues. Live music and performances provide businesses of every industry that the member for Manly named, yet the Government refuses to support live music as part of its night-time economy strategy. By failing to give councils the power to remove conditions from development approvals, no new venues will appear. By failing to remove bans on live music or restrictions on mirror balls and dance floors, no new business opportunities will emerge and no new emerging artists will have venues to play in.

What we need is a new generation of artists able to play in venues both big and small right across our great city and the State, and they need a government that supports them to do this. The Eastern Suburbs has always been a fertile spot for up-and-coming musicians, from fantastic small venues like Little Jack Horner right through to the famous Selina's at Coogee Bay Hotel. But many venues like these are disappearing under this Government. I long to see the glory days of live music returning to the Eastern Suburbs and the streets, towns and cities across this great State. It is the responsibility of the Government to make this happen. It cannot continue to ignore the calls from businesses and creative industries that are begging for live music to return and bring with it the vibrant, dynamic, safe and accessible night-time economy that we all want to see again. Giving people a $25 voucher to attend a venue does not work unless the venue has artists. The legislative instruments exist to support live performances. Business communities and the public are right behind the support of live performances. It is the Government that is holding them back.