More liquor licensing and music venues coverage

The controversy over liquor licensing regulation and its effect on small bars continues, with coverage in Melbourne’s Herald-Sun today. One of the interesting points – which I think sums up some of the issues of over-regulation in the sector – is the laws currently causing concern have actually been on the statutes since the 1990s. It’s just that they have only begun to be enforced now, in the wake of community concern about alcohol-fueled violence:

The rules covering late-trading venues with amplified music had been unchanged since the late 1990s. But the crackdown started in the middle of last year when a new compliance directorate, nicknamed “Sue’s Stormtroopers”, started work.
Removing the link between live music and a venue being classified as high risk would not involve a change to the law, Perring says.
Gigs, where people come together to share their love of music, are “exactly the kind of thing you want happening” in licensed venues, he says.
“People who go to see live music are part of a community, they’re there to see a band — and it’s generally all over by 1am.”
The Tote’s closure is unfortunate timing. After years of being hit by nightclubs, live music is having a renaissance.
“Considering all the woes of the record industry, the live industry in Melbourne is alive and well,” tour promoter and record company boss Michael Gudinski says.
“I have full respect for the police and Sue Maclellan trying to clean up the trouble, but live music venues, particularly the ones that support Australian music, aren’t the trouble places. Live music venues are completely different to the nightclub scene. They’re looking in the wrong places.”
Young says the new laws are hitting the Cherry hard.
“I might want to put on Spencer P. Jones on a Tuesday night to play for an hour and hopefully bring in 20 people who are music fans. You wouldn’t do that now because you have to pay security $35-$40 an hour, you have to have two of them working for a minimum of five hours,” he says.
“You’re in a scenario where the musician gets paid $200 and the security guard gets $500 — and you only expected to attract 20 people. So you close on Tuesday and close on Sunday.”

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