Strict Liquor Rules Withdrawn

After eight months of negotiations, the Victorian state government in Australia removed the legal link between live music and alcohol-fueled violence.

Tough new liquor licensing laws introduced Jan. 1 required that any club that remained open until 3 a.m. be deemed “high risk” and ramp up security.

Eighteen days later, one of Melbourne’s biggest supporters of indie music, The Tote, announced it was unable to cope with extra costs and would therefore close.

In its 20 years of existence, it had no recorded violent incidents.

When other venues also predicted they wouldn’t survive, a grassroots protest began.

On Feb. 23, more than 20,000 fans marched on Parliament demanding the law be repealed.

“For the first time, contemporary music became an election issue,” reported Patrick Donovan, CEO of one of the city’s three major live associations Music Victoria.

Donovan, along with musician Quincy McLean (of Save Live Australian Music) and venue operator Jon Perring (Fair Go 4 Live Music), signed the pact on behalf of the live sector.

“This will create a business environment where venues can put live music on, even take risks on edgy genres,” Perring said.