Bringing back the music

This week, we took a big step forward in supporting Sydney's live music scene by fast tracking a range of initiatives to make rehearsing, performing and parking easier.

Last month I released the Live Music and Performance Taskforce's Action Plan, and while some recommendations require more community feedback before we can take them further, there are some that can be easily and quickly progressed now - in the same way we introduced food trucks after strong feedback as part of the consultation on our late night economic policy.

Many of the things we are moving forward with were brought up by speakers who addressed Councillors when the action plan was discussed at our November Committee meeting.

At this week's Council meeting, I asked City staff to start work immediately on a number of recommendations made by the Taskforce. These include:

• Making City of Sydney-owned properties including the Ron Williams Centre in Redfern, Harry Jensen Activity Centre in Millers Point and Green Square Community Hall available to school-aged musicians at no cost;

• Investigating improvements needed, including possible provision of pianos, to make several of the City's local town halls suitable for hosting small-scale live music events and performances;

• Piloting a live music performance series for young people, coordinated by the City's youth services team, which teaches skills in planning, promoting and delivering live music;

• Establishing a free, independent and confidential mediation service and formal mediation policy for resolving complaints about live music in the City;

• Developing a permit system to allow musicians, performers and technical staff to load and unload equipment in existing loading zones outside music and performance venues;

• Inviting the National Live Music Office to develop a data collection program to monitor the health of Sydney's live music sector, including audience and participation data; and

• Exploring ways the City can provide financial support for staging all-ages live music and performance events in established music venues.

Thousands of people have already told us live music and performance is an important part of our city. Sydney has always enjoyed a thriving live music scene but with the industry increasingly under added financial and regulatory pressure we need to do more to ensure it survives.

The Live Music Matters action plan is on public exhibition until 17 January. If you think live music matters, make sure you have your say.

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