Inner West Council wins in Night Time Economy Report

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Inner West Council has proven to be a leader in boosting local venues and performers, with the NSW Parliamentary Night Time Economy Report recommending adoption of a host of Inner West Council’s ground-breaking initiatives and policies.

Council’s Good Neighbour policy got the Report’s tick of approval, as did its push to allow small scale arts and music to operate in shops and cafes and its new legislation making it easier for small bars to gain licencing and approval.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said that the Inquiry’s findings mirrored Council’s push to make night time economy more vibrant and easier for new operators to enter into.

“Council rolled out its ground-breaking Good Neighbour Policy in May,” he said.

“It requires all noise and amenity complaints about pubs, clubs and small bars to be mediated before costly compliance action is initiated.

“The report says that the Minister should encourage other councils to get on board, but we think the State Government should even go one step further and make it compulsory for all Councils to adopt this approach, but making it part of local government legislation.”

The Report recommended that NSW Government consider supporting the night time use of spaces occupied by businesses during the day, with a particular focus on creative businesses.

“We’re pleased to see the Inquiry echo Council’s calls for a less complicated approval process for small scale arts,” said Mayor Byrne.

“Small businesses like bookshops, cafes and empty shopfronts are an idea venue for small scale artists like musicians, comedians and painters to get their start. The Inner West is the perfect place to test this policy and we’d be pleased to work with the State Government on trials to get this concept up and running.”

The Report also calls for the Office of Liquor and Gaming to provide advice on small bar licence facilitation and easing the application and approvals for new licences or licence transfers.

“One year ago Council was successful in pushing through legislative changes to cut red tape for café and restaurant owners wanting to convert to a small bar,” said Mayor Byrne.

“Proprietors in some of Council’s precincts can now use a 10 Complying Development pathway process, rather than the more complicated DA required elsewhere in the State.

“These initiatives from the Inner West are making it easier to set up a night time business and bring Sydney’s night time economy back to life.

The inquiry noted that the Inner West was an area with a very successful, vibrant and safe nightlife, particularly Newtown – with a diverse mix of entertainment that wasn’t based on drinking.

Recommendations from the Night Time Economy Report reflective of Inner West Council policy work

Recommendation 8: Good Neighbour Policy

That the relevant minister encourage all councils to adopt the Inner West Council's Live Music Venues Good Neighbour Policy, and expand it to cover other venues, to ensure that complainants and businesses are mandated to meet with each other first, to try to resolve disputes collaboratively, before a council will act upon any complaint or dispute.

Recommendation 9: Agent of Change
That the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment investigate:

  • adopting an agent of change principle into planning law to protect existing venues.
  • adopting provisions to allow the designation of entertainment precincts that may encourage new venues.
    This principle aims to create a fairer approach when noise complaints are made against longstanding venues or operations. It aims to put the responsibility on managing noise impacts on the more recent arrival.

Recommendation 13
That the coordinator and the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority work together to advise the relevant Minister within 60 days on the following matters:

  • the development of the night time economy strategy
  • small bar licence facilitation
  • facilitating amendment and relaxation of licence conditions for "well behaved venues"
  • facilitating ease of application and approvals for new licences or licence transfers
  • arts venues
  • small (120-250 people) and medium (400-500 people) sized music venues

Recommendation 16
That the NSW Government amend liquor legislation to remove unnecessary conditions for liquor licences and development applications that place unnecessary restrictions on live music, such as banning certain genres of music or certain musical instruments.

Recommendation 17
That the NSW Government investigate ways to support venues to provide entertainment. This should include making it easier for existing venues to do so, by encouraging new small and medium size music and entertainment venues, and the use of empty or under-utilised government spaces as temporary or popup arts and entertainment venues.

Recommendation 19
That the NSW Government consider developing regulations to support the night time use of spaces occupied by businesses during the day, with a particular focus on supporting the night time use of the space by creative businesses.

For further information please contact Kate Walsh on 0421 24 366.

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Page last updated: 04 Oct 2019