Image courtesy of Save Live Australian Music (SLAM), taken by Amber O'Grady.
‘Agent of change’ is a principle adopted by the Victorian state government in 2014. While the New South Wales government have not adopted this principle, City of Sydney have started preparing for new planning controls around entertainment management.This comes after feedback received during the consultation process for City of Sydney’s Development Control Plan (DCP) review in late 2018, which formed the basis for their ‘Open and Creative City, planning for the culture and the night-time economy’ plan.
According to Music Victoria, ‘agent of change’ is a principle that was assimilated into planning law. It’s purpose is to “impose obligations on the ‘agent of change’, for example a residential developer, with respect to noise from live music performance across Victoria, and aims to protect live music venues from residential encroachment.”
The developer is required to include measures to reduce the noise impact on their prospective residential developments if the location falls within 50 metres of an existing live music performance venue.
It must be noted that Planning Victoria states: “this does not mean however that any other person living or working in an area is free of any responsibility for noise management. Everyone has a role in noise management, including existing permit holders and live music entertainment venues.”
Early 2010 saw a sweep of policies brought up by the Victorian government which, amongst other things, insisted that every venue regardless of size would be required to hire security personnel if they were putting on any kind of live music. This was seen by many in the community to be quite drastic.
A subsequent rally was organised. Lead by SLAM, it saw approximately 20,000 march through the streets of Melbourne in protest. Check out the YouTube clip here.
The result of this action was the Live Music Agreement. Signed by the three original organisations as well as the Minister for Gaming and Consumer Affairs and the Director of Liquor Licensing, it included the following requirement, “Consultation and discussion will continue between the Government and Music Victoria to progress other longer term goals regarding the promotion of live performance, such as: Recognition and implementation of the agent of change principle during 2011 […]”
‘Agent of change’ (though not adopted in NSW as of September 2019) does have some support from figures in NSW. This includes political parties such as The Keep Sydney Open Party, leaders of the Australian Hotels Association NSW and the Solotel hospitality group as well as public support through responses and feedback to the City of Sydney’s ‘Open and Creative City, planning for culture and the night-time economy’ discussion paper.
While in this stage of deliberation, there are a number of things you can continue can continue to do to avoid noise complaints: