RIP NSW Festivals: Mandatory Licensing Starts March 1

New South Wales music festivals will have to be licensed from the 1st of March this year, under new regulations brought in by the beleaguered Berejiklian government.

The new requirement is one of several recommendations from the “expert panel” convened to advise the NSW government on festival safety, following the deaths of several young people at festivals this summer.

The New Daily has reported festival organisers will have to apply for a specific liquor licence for each music festival they hold, and that NSW Health, NSW Police, NSW Ambulance and Liquor and Gaming NSW will likely need to sign off on the licences before an event can be run.

The cost of the new licences and the specific criteria that will be used to assess applications remains a mystery.

The NSW Department of Health has, however, issued a set of official interim guidelines for festival safety. The booklet outlines harm reduction strategies including providing:

  • On-site medical team
  • Free drinking water
  • Adequate toilet facilities
  • Shade
  • Security
  • Access to food
  • Ambulance access to the festival site
  • Needle disposal containers
  • Peer-based harm reduction programs
  • Chill out spaces

The NSW government is yet to provide any evidence that more stringent liquor licensing will improve safety at music festivals.

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