NSW Government Ends Era of Noise Complaints Closing Venues


A new era for music fans, artists, venues and neighbours will begin from tomorrow, 1 July 2024.

New noise complaint regulations coming into effect will protect venues from serial complainants, while sound proofing grants will protect residents' right to a good night's sleep.

This suite of measures is part of the Minns Labor Government's agenda to rebuild Sydney's night-time economy, support live music and create vibrant communities.

The noise and licensing reforms coming into effect from 1 July include:

  • Order of occupancy. This will become a central consideration in determining disturbance complaints and considers whether the licensed venue or the complainant occupied their premises first. The party established first will be favoured in determining disturbance complaints. This will prevent incoming residents restricting the entertainment offerings or operating hours of already established venues.
  • Simplifying noise complaint process. Liquor & Gaming NSW will become the lead regulator for noise complaints relating to licensed premises. Previously, seven agencies have managed noise complaints.
  • Complainants. The number of people required to make a statutory disturbance complaint against a licensed premises will increase from three to five. They must not be from the same household or business and will be required to prove that they have tried to resolve any issues with the licensee before lodging a complaint.
  • Take-away alcohol for small bars. Temporary allowances for limited take-away sales from small bars that were introduced during the covid-19 pandemic will become permanent.
  • New extended trading applications for hotels that schedule live music or arts and cultural events.
  • Streamlined consultation processes for liquor licence applications and community feedback, reducing costs for applicants and making it quicker and easier for the community to have their say.

For more information on the reforms, visit Liquor & Gaming's What's Changing website.

As the new regulations come into effect the Venues Unlocked package delivers grants that support new and existing venues to host more live gigs without further impacting neighbours, through two programs:

  • Soundproofing Grants will support 21 new and existing venues with up to $100,000 to help them achieve best-practice soundproofing and sound management.
  • Live Performance Venue grants will support 56 venues with up to $80,000 for essential equipment, programming and marketing costs.

For more information on the grants, visit the Venues Unlocked website.

Minister for Music and the Night-time Economy John Graham said:

"The old NSW sport of moving in next to a music venue and complaining until it gets shut down, is now history. That era is coming to an end.

"The soundproofing and venue support will mean venues can host more live music, whilst reducing the impact on their neighbours.

"Bit by bit, we are rebuilding Sydney's night-time economy, venue by venue, neighbourhood by neighbourhood.

"We made a commitment to increase the number of live music venues across NSW and through ongoing reform and the Venues Unlocked grant programs we are enabling venues to expand their offerings, while also supporting new music venues to get their performance programming off the ground."

Minister for Gaming and Racing David Harris said:

"The NSW Government is working to balance the interests of community members while also allowing patrons to enjoy the entertainment on offer at our pubs, clubs, small bars and restaurants.

"When it comes to noise complaints, these enhanced order of occupancy provisions will give strong consideration to who was there first.

"These reforms recognise that if people move next door to a licensed premises, they should expect a certain level of noise will come from the operation of the venue.

"However, where a venue has significantly altered its operations, this also needs to be considered."

Head of Sound NSW Emily Collins said:

"We know through the recent State of the Scene report that there are 795 venues across NSW that offer live music - so this is a great start to supporting venues in a real and tangible way and to help them navigate the challenges of operating in NSW.

"It has been fantastic to work alongside Liquor & Gaming NSW and the 24-Hour Economy Commissioner to deliver the Venues Unlocked program for venues across our state."

NSW 24-Hour Economy Commissioner Michael Rodrigues said:

"For the better part of a decade we had a regulatory system and operating environment in NSW that stymied live performance. It made it incredibly difficult for venues to deliver live entertainment programs as part of their offerings. It meant artists, musos and comedians lost stages on which to play. It's been a tough lesson to learn from but from it, learn we must.

"Our Vibrancy reforms are tackling the regulatory challenges. And on the operation side, the Live Performance Venue Program is about equipping hospitality operators across NSW with the skills and infrastructure they need to re-establish a diverse range of performance spaces where artists can again perform, and audiences be entertained. It's been wonderful to collaborate with our specialist music agency Sound NSW, to make sure the Program delivers."

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