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Live music reforms - cutting red tape for live music venues and all-age gigs

21 Nov 2013

Victorian Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation, Edward O'Donohue, yesterday announced that the Government will amend the Liquor Control Act in early 2014 to cut red tape for live music events, which will enable the introduction of alcohol-free All-Ages live music events in licensed premises. Interim measures will be put into place immediately for some youth events to be held.

This announcement comes following two years of productive negotiation between the Government and music industry representatives at the Victorian Live Music Roundtable, which has sought to remove red tape and improve the conditions for live music.

Changes the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has introduced are as follows:

  • a new fast-track application for low-risk underage events that will halve the lead time for an application to be lodged
  • changes to standard conditions for underage events to reduce the cost to venues of holding these events
  • a new category of alcohol-free youth events which are for patrons aged from12-25 years.

Music Victoria CEO, Patrick Donovan, said “This is a massive outcome for the live music Industry that will benefit artists, venues, promoters and young music fans who are the future of the industry. It also illustrates what can be achieved when the industry and various departments of the government come together and work through issues that hinder our wonderful live music industry. We hope it is the first of many outcomes to come out of the Live Music Roundtable.”

This common sense and practical reform which comes after much consultation with stakeholders and community - including the Victorian Government, Victoria Police, local government, licensees and the music industry.

Peter Chellew, Executive Officer at The Push, said: “This is a generous act by the Victorian Government in support of our vibrant live music sector and in favour of young people’s rights to access cultural activities. They have tackled tough ‘steam punk’ liquor regulations straight out of the 19th century and provided an innovative result that accurately reflects 21st century community values.”

“Barriers to live music for young people will be reduced. Young audiences will now engage in positive live music culture within safe environments, rather than at uncontrolled warehouse or house parties. This is also a great outcome for young people in regional areas, where the local pub is often the only safe space available to enjoy live music.”

The reforms strike a balance between reducing costs for licensees and the live music industry with general principles of harm minimisation and the need to support a safe environment for unaccompanied people under the age of 18 when attending events in licensed premises.

Richard Moffat from independent music programmer Way Over There, representing local venues and national music festivals, said “I can't begin to express how happy I am to know Melbourne venues will once again be hosting delicensed all-ages shows. It is what I grew up with I the 80s and the main reason I now work with so many musicians I have admired and loved.”

“For many years Melbourne has had these troubling restricting laws that have effectively 'ghettoized' entertainment for teenagers. It has meant parents cannot see bands they love with their kids...older brother and sisters not being able to attend with younger siblings. “It has had no value to anyone and nearly destroyed bands ability to play to a significant audience that has wanted to see them.”

“I will welcome all age shows back.  I have teens myself now and I want them out and about experiencing and loving life and music and having great adventures.”

These changes took effect on 20 November 2013.

These new measures complement the Victorian Government’s announcement that it will legislate to remove the requirement for licensees to apply to the VCGLR for approval to host alcohol-free underage and mixed aged live music events.

The VCGLR’s reforms provide an immediate solution to support live music in Victoria, while the legislative reforms are being developed.

For further information, please check the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) website or contact the VCGLR by phone on 1300 182 457, or by email

Info: Underage and youth events held on licensed premises:



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