Proposal To Turn Old Sydney Buildings Into Venues

The city of Sydney, the Live Music Office and the University of Sydney released the “New Ideas For Old Buildings” discussion paper to give the creative community more say in how older buildings are used.

These would house more live music venues as well as studios, workspaces, galleries and pop-up theatres. The paper puts forward six strategies that will remove regulatory barriers, more research on the impact of hosting live music venues, getting as many government, council and music groups to meet regularly to thrash out issues, and work with access groups to ensure the participation of disabled artists and audiences in these creative spaces.

“Cities across Australia, and all over the world, are facing the challenge of adapting 20th century planning laws to today’s diverse creative scene,” said Lord Mayor Clover Moore. “We need to develop smarter regulations that maintain high safety standards, but also provide clear and cost-effective ways to adapt older buildings to the needs of a contemporary creative city.”

New South Wales is home to 40 percent of the country’s creative community, and contributes more than A$1.4 billion ($1 billion) to the state and Sydney’s economies.

But the lockout laws introduced in 2014 to Sydney entertainment precincts as a response to alcohol-fueled violence has seen a 40 percent drop in revenues for live music venues and a 19 percent decrease in foot traffic at nightclubs and dance venues.