Use space to open navigation items
16 November 2018

Review of music-related licence conditions

Liquor & Gaming NSW is offering a three-month free and streamlined assessment review for licensees to request the removal or variation of outdated or irrelevant licence conditions for live music and entertainment.

The measure aims to support the live music and entertainment industries, and enable venues to update their business models to reflect changing community tastes and engage a wide variety of musicians and live performers.

The NSW Government is committed to streamlining regulation of licensed venues to help create safe, diverse and vibrant entertainment options.

Why is this measure necessary?

Some licences have historically had conditions imposed relating to music and other live entertainment that restricted the genres of music a venue can offer as well as the types of instruments played and number of performers allowed on stage.

In many cases, these types of conditions were imposed many years ago due to specific issues arising at a venue at the time.

Venues may also have nominated particular types of entertainment when applying for a liquor licence, with the details listed as conditions of the licences ever since.

These conditions often now serve no valid purpose and can unnecessarily prevent venues from offering new and different types of live entertainment.

For example, 'a country and western only' music condition would prevent a bar from offering jazz nights or playing 80s music for birthday parties.

Such conditions are no longer imposed on liquor licences.

How will the new service work?

From 1 December 2018 to 28 February 2019, eligible venues can submit a request to Liquor & Gaming NSW to have music-related conditions removed or revoked.

The usual $110 fee to make an application to change a licence condition will be waived and processes for some applications will be streamlined for faster outcomes.

The public will still have the opportunity to comment on any proposals to remove or vary conditions through the Application Noticeboard. Local police, councils and neighbouring premises within 50 metres will be notified of a request being made.

Noticeboard periods will range from 14–30 days depending on the type of condition being reviewed.

Further details, including a request form, will be available shortly on the Liquor & Gaming NSW website.

What types of conditions are eligible to be removed?

The three-month review is available for specific types of conditions that can be considered to unnecessarily restrict live entertainment and music in venues, including:

  • Genre restrictions: Any condition restricting the style or type of live music that can be provided on the licensed premises
    E.g. 'no rock', 'no metal' 'no disco', 'jazz or folk or other quiet music styles only'.
  • Format restrictions: Any condition restricting the types of performers or specific instruments or performance equipment, or number of musicians or live acts allowed to perform at the licensed premises
    E.g. 'solo performers or duos only', 'no heavy bands', 'no drums or bass', 'limit of three live acts in a night', 'no disco lighting'
  • Outright bans: Any condition that fully bans live entertainment (including live music and/or DJ entertainment) on the licensed premises at all times.
    E.g. bans that apply across the entire premises such as: 'no live music or entertainment to be performed on the premises', 'background music only' or 'no DJ entertainment on the premises'

Conditions covering other issues relating to entertainment and music are out of scope for the three-month review, include:

  • limits on noise levels – includes LA10 noise criteria or related bans on live/amplified music contingent on an acoustic report demonstrating compliance with such noise criteria
  • cut-off times for live entertainment
  • limits on locations or specific parts of the premises where live entertainment can be held
  • security staff or transport requirements whenever live entertainment is provided
  • adult entertainment or nudity
  • approval from a local council before live entertainment can be provided
  • specific controls around not trading as a nightclub - e.g. 'premises not to be themed or operated as a nightclub'.

Licensees can always apply for a change to these broader types of conditions, if they wish to have them reconsidered, through the normal 'change to licence condition' process. A standard $110 application fee applies.

What happens in cases where such conditions are in development consents issued by local councils?

Venues will need to make separate applications to their local council to have development consent conditions varied or lifted.

Liquor & Gaming NSW has no power to remove conditions in development consents.

However, we encourage councils to also take a flexible approach when assessing any applications from venues to remove or vary these consent conditions.

What safeguards will there be to ensure removing these conditions will not lead to noise disturbance in local neighbourhoods or other undesirable outcomes?

Applications will still be subject to community notification requirements and posted on the Application Noticeboard. Notice periods will range from 14–30 days depending on the type of condition being reviewed.

How long will it take to consider my application?

Liquor & Gaming NSW aims to have applications decided within 120 days of receipt. The three month period of the assessment review (from 1 December to 28 February) refers to the time applications can be lodged. Processing times will vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the application.

Apart from the waiving of the fees and streamlined assessment process, is Liquor & Gaming NSW using more relaxed criteria when considering requests to remove or vary licences?

All requests for review will need to be considered on their individual merits, and in line with the objectives of the Liquor Act 2007.

For instance, decision-makers will need to take into account:

  • how a request aligns with current community expectations and views
  • the need for a flexible and practical regulatory system
  • responsible development of the live music and entertainment industries.

As far as possible, streamlined processes will be adopted for removal or variation of genre and format restrictions. However, if local stakeholders raise any valid objections, processing times may be longer.