Issued by Minister for Racing Paul Toole
The NSW Government announced today that the new licensing scheme for music festivals, which will start from March 1, will only apply to 14 specified higher risk festivals.
Higher risk festivals are festivals where a serious drug related illness or death has occurred in the past three years or where the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority has determined, having regard to expert advice from NSW Health and NSW Police, that there may be a significant risk of serious drug related illness or death.
Minister for Racing Paul Toole said that these changes to the scope of the scheme followed consultation with music festival operators and other stakeholders, and would mean that no festival, other than the 14 specified higher risk festivals, will be affected by the new licensing scheme.
“The NSW Government wants music festivals to thrive – but serious drug related illnesses and deaths have demonstrated that we need to help make a small number of them safer,” Mr Toole said.
“We will continue to work with operators of higher risk festivals to ensure they have appropriate safety arrangements in place, and can comply with the new licensing scheme.”
The list of higher risk festivals will be regularly reviewed and festivals which improve their safety arrangements may be removed from the list. Festivals where a serious drug related illness or death occurs, or where there may be a significant risk of a serious drug related incident or death, may be added to the higher risk list.
Mr Toole said that the NSW Government recognised that there has been concern and uncertainty among festival operators about how the new licensing scheme will operate.
“This announcement today will help provide certainty regarding the new scheme, and ensure there are no added cost burdens on low risk festivals,” Mr Toole said.
“The scheme is designed to support music festival operators, particularly those who are dealing with the evolving challenge of illegal drug use at their festivals.
“We know that most operators, including operators of higher risk festivals, work hard to do the right thing – now they will have access to more expert advice and support to help them run safer events.
“We are committed to continuing to work with music festival operators and other industry stakeholders to ensure the right balance is struck between great entertainment and festival safety.”
List of higher risk festivals – February 2019
Sydney International Regatta Centre, Castlereagh
MEDIA: Eleisha Rogers 0439 867 112