News just in that there has been a breakthrough here in Melbourne regarding liquor licensing and the previously mandatory branding of live music venues as ‘high risk’. This issue has been on the political radar for some time now in Victoria, kickstarted by the closure of the Tote hotel (which has now reopened) and culminating when 20,000 Melburnians marched through the city as part of the ‘Save Live Australian Music’ rally.

Check out the presser below:

We are pleased to announce that after eight months of intense negotiation SLAM, Fair Go 4 Live Music and Music Victoria have reached an agreement with the Victorian State Government.

It’s official: “Live music does not cause violence”. The inappropriate link between live music and alcohol-fuelled violence is dead! “The Government has acted to remove the link between live music performance at licensed premises and crowd controller licence conditions” is an extract from the Live Music Agreement signed today by Patrick Donovan (Music Victoria), Quincy McLean (SLAM), Jon Perring (FG4LM), Tony Robinson Minister for Consumer Affairs & Mark Brennan Director of Liquor Licensing.

“The SLAM Rally marked a sea-change for the arts in Australia. It was the largest cultural protest in Australian history. For the first time, cultural policy became an election issue.”
Ben Eltham, AICV conference 2010

For the 20,000 lovers of live music who marched onto Parliament House on February 23rd 2010 and all the other supporters since, your voice has been heard. Today is an historic day. February 23rd was about calling for changes; today an agreement has been reached.

“This will create a business environment where venues can put live music on, even take risks on edgy genres. This is really important for the live music scene and that it’s treated fairly by regulators.”
Jon Perring (FG4LM)

“The importance that the music of Victoria has to its community, industry, economy and its musicians has been officially recognised. The threat to the viability of our small venues has been stopped and our culture can be safeguarded. We believe all policy should be assessed by its impact on culture because through culture we truly live. Our cultural time is our community time; it is our celebration, our laughter and our mourning. Music is everywhere, let’s keep it that way.”
Quincy McLean (SLAM)

We would like to thank the Victorian State Government for hearing the voice of their community and working to a resolution with the Live Music Agreement, and we look forward to the active implementation of this agreement. Both the Liberal Party and Greens have policy relating to liquor licensing and Live Music befitting music’s universal cultural importance, for which we thank them.

Victoria’s Live Music community is now being recognised at a State and Local level with councils such as City of Yarra and City of Melbourne forming their Live Music Strategies. Our peak body, Music Victoria, has been established as an advocate for all sectors of the music community.

“This decision recognises the wonderful contribution from Victoria’s passionate and thriving music community and cements our reputation as one of the live music capitals of the world. We thank those who made it happen and look forward to seeing the industry flourish in this new nurturing environment.”
Patrick Donovan, CEO Music Victoria

Live Music is now on the political agenda and should be nurtured and protected into the future. Thank you to everyone who made this a possibility.