Liquor licensing (entertainment on licensed premises) amendment bill

In Parliament - Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Mr DULUK (Davenport) (16:21:03): I also rise to speak in favour of the Liquor Licensing (Entertainment on Licensed Premises) Amendment Bill 2015, and I commend the member for Hartley, as lead speaker for the opposition, on his contribution, his research and his thorough interest in this matter. As I said, this amendment bill is supported by the Liberal Party. It is supported by the Music Industry Council, which provided a key submission and recommendations to the government early this year, as well as the Australian Hotels Association (AHA).

Live music activity in Australia delivers significant benefits to the Australian community. Indeed, live music is the heart and soul of live entertainment in South Australia. It is the heart and soul of many hotels and pubs, including many of our historic hotels and pubs, such as the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, the Lion Hotel, the Wheatsheaf Hotel, the Norwood Hotel, the Arkaba, the Robin Hood, and the Belair Hotel in my electorate of Davenport (and my local).National research conducted by the University of Tasmania shows that the live music sector contributed over $15.7 billion to the value of the Australian community in 2014. The report, entitled 'The economic and cultural value of live music in Australia 2014', set out to value the economic, social and cultural contributions of the Australian live music industry. The findings of that report revealed that for every dollar spent on live music, $3 of benefit is returned to the wider community.

It illustrates the significant contribution that the live music industry makes to the economy, and it highlights the importance of live music to the community. I certainly believe it is incumbent on us as leaders and representatives to continue to work to improve and develop the live music sector in Australia through funding, better regulation, and small business support.

In terms of hotels being the heart of live music in this state, I refer to the AHA press release of August this year, where they reported that:

…962 gigs were presented during May 2015 in Adelaide and outer suburbs across 157 venues, with Adelaide city providing the bulk of live music offerings.

It shows that, in May 2015, hotels were the most significant venue type, providing 769 of those gigs across 108 venues, and a total of 80 per cent of all gigs performed in Adelaide, and 69 per cent of all venues being hotels. The heart of this amendment does really go to supporting hotels, so it is a very important amendment and it is certainly one that is well supported.

This bill is an important step in the right direction. We must remove unnecessary regulation, and I welcome any effort to cut red tape, reduce cost of business and encourage the live music industry in South Australia. I encourage the removal of unnecessary regulation across all industries and welcome efforts to reduce red tape.

The current requirements for specific entertainment consent to provide entertainment on the licensed premises is unnecessarily onerous. It is costly and time consuming, and has been a significant barrier to the live music sector in South Australia. This amendment will make it easier for licensed premises to host live music.

For example, restaurants now, under the amendments, could have a guitarist playing in the background without having to seek the consent of the licensing authority to play until midnight. It is incredibly hard to believe that, currently and before this amendment, hopefully, is agreed to by this parliament, if a restaurant anywhere in Adelaide, a private small restaurant, wanted to have an acoustic guitarist playing after 11pm, until midnight—

Mr Knoll interjecting:

Mr DULUK: —one last Khe Sanh—they had to apply for special licensing permission. It is absolutely—

Mr Knoll: UnAustralian.

Mr DULUK: It is unAustralian not to have a last plane out of Sydney and, for that to be played, you need the permission of the government. It is certainly about time.

Mr Treloar: What's new?

Mr DULUK: What ' s New Pussycat is another one that might be played after 11pm that previously would need approval of the government.

Mr Bell: New York, New York.

Mr DULUK: I love New York, New York. There is another one that under the previous regime would need permission. All the pub classics, all the favourite hits, previously needed permission of the licensing authority for that to happen. I am glad that, in 2015, pubs can have music until midnight without needing extra permission. All venues will now be able to host live music between 11am and midnight at their own discretion.

Experiencing live music enriches people's lives and the government getting out of the way of people enjoying their Saturday night is even better—or Sunday night at the Lion Hotel. Live music adds to the vibrancy of our CBD, suburbs and towns. Live music should not suffer at the hands of nanny staters. A classic case of live music suffering at the hands of the nanny state is that of the Austral Hotel. It was first licensed in 1879 and, no doubt, many of us in this place probably had a few drinks in there during our university time. Of course, there was a big argument where a development was proposed for Rundle Street, and the Austral Hotel had to close its live music venue out the back, a venue which had been providing live music for generations, in compliance for new housing.

It really irks me when people complain about live music in hotels, especially when those licensed premises have been there for many a generation. It is a bit like people moving into the suburb of Hilton in 2015 and complaining about the noise of aeroplanes overhead. If you live near a hotel, especially if you move near to a hotel, you need to expect that there is going to be live music and we should not discriminate against those venues that choose to provide live music.

A significant suite of commercial benefits accrue, of course, from a vibrant and prosperous music industry. Live music dependent enterprises receive a financial return on their investment of capital, labour, energy, material and services. Enterprises that provide live music, such as venue owners and operators of hotels, bars, nightclubs, cafes and restaurants, are huge employers of South Australians in the liquor and hospitality industry. Other businesses also benefit from live music, such as accommodation services, retail trade, road transport and communication services. There is, dare I say, a complex ecosystem of financial and social transactions associated with live music. Getting people out and about and enjoying themselves does and will deliver significant flow-on benefits to, first, the individual and, secondly, broader society. There are social and cultural benefits as well.

A study by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by the Victorian government, found that venue-based live music contributed to the state's social and cultural landscape. Live music nurtures creativity by providing scope to perform original music. The opportunity to perform live in music venues plays a critical role in developing music careers and incubating talent, as the member for Hartley touched on in saying that we could develop the next Taylor Swift out of Adelaide. Individuals place high value on the social benefits derived from attendances at live music performances, and these private benefits foster social engagement and connectedness, leading to enhanced community wellbeing.

It is important that we continue to identify opportunities to promote the economic, social and cultural values of live music and foster the South Australian live music industry. Licensed venues are critical to the success of this. Enabling simpler means for entertainment and affording musicians the opportunity to gain experience and exposure is supported by the objects of the Liquor Licensing Act 1997. Section 3(1)(b) says:

to further the interests of the liquor industry and industries with which it is closely associated—such as the live music industry, tourism and the hospitality industry—within the context of appropriate regulation and controls;

The role of live music and entertainment more broadly in providing an active night-time economy, a vibrant city and critical employment opportunities should be paramount. A strong culture in developing musicians is another critical component to fostering a live music industry. It is frustrating and short sighted of this government that it continues to cut programs aimed at developing local talent.

I was frustrated to read that the Primary School String Orchestra and the Secondary School String Symphony, amongst other student ensembles, are under threat from a proposed shake-up of school instrumental music teaching. Cuts to school programs will be another nail in the coffin for the South Australian music education system. VET courses have already been hit, with students unable to enrol for music courses at Noarlunga TAFE, and the University of Adelaide's decision that all its vocational music courses would no longer be offered in 2015 is blamed on declining state government contributions.

We must support the development of local musicians and the creative industries in South Australia. Adelaide's live music scene will suffer with fewer up-and-coming musicians performing around town if we do not nurture grassroots music, and indeed that is beginning at primary school age. The economic, cultural and social benefits of live music to the Australian economy are proven beyond any doubt, and the next step is for this government to invest in its music education and restore South Australia to its stature as the Festival State.