Thursday, 20 September 2018
Brisbane Electorate: Live Music
A few weeks ago, I was at the official opening of the BIGSOUND festival in Fortitude Valley. BIGSOUND's a global gathering of musicians, industry, media and music lovers. It's a music festival, a conference and serious business, all in one. BIGSOUND brings thousands of people into Brisbane, and it brings millions of dollars of economic benefits, and that's what live music represents. It's the biggest event of its sort in Australia, and that's why this government backs it with serious funding through the Australia Council.
Live music—Brisbane's nightlife—was one of the important issues on which I campaigned for election. I fought hard against Queensland Labor's lock-out laws, and I was pleased to see Labor partially roll back those laws as a consequence of the strong community response. Yet our live music industry in Brisbane remains under threat. The New Globe Theatre has announced its closure, Oh Hello! is shutting next month and even The Zoo, one of Brisbane's most iconic venues, is reducing its hours. There is a recent QMusic survey showing that attendance is trending down, that two-thirds of Brisbane's live music venues have reduced the amount of live music they're staging, because of the red tape, and that 90 per cent of them are experiencing so-called operational issues with ID scanners and red tape, because the regulations are nanny-state, one-size-fits-all and not fit for purpose.
Labor's laws are literally killing our live music industry—our nightlife. Small businesses are being sent to the wall. Musicians have fewer and fewer venues and fewer opportunities to play, and patrons who love live music are starting to miss out. If this continues unaddressed, live music in Brisbane could enter a death spiral. We don't want future generations in Brisbane to miss out on the next Powderfinger, the next 'Gurge, the next Sheppard. A few nights ago there was a public forum in Brisbane on saving live music venues. Not only did the Queensland Labor minister send last-minute apologies, they didn't even bother sending a representative. The local Labor member continually goes missing on this topic. What a disgrace.
We need to recognise how different venues require fit-for-purpose rules. We need a commonsense approach for small venues that are set up for staging live music. Labor's response: nothing. It has no sense of urgency, no real engagement with the sector and no evidence-led policy. To those people in Brisbane who care about the live music industry, to those of you who are worried that nobody seems to be listening to you: be assured that you are not alone. I'll keep fighting to protect the industry, the jobs, our nightlife and the cultural, creative and artistic contribution that live music contributes to our wonderful and diverse community in Brisbane.