Bills - Second Reading Debate - Music Festivals Bill

22 October, 2019
Bills - Second Reading Debate - Music Festivals Bill  Image

Excerpt from the Legislative Assembly Hansard from Tuesday 22 October 2019  

Music Festivals Bill 2019 

Second Reading Debate contribution from Mr Roy Butler, Member for Barwon

I speak in support of the Music Festivals Bill 2019 and also to suggest some amendments. I support the comments of the member for Lake Macquarie. In my experience, having worked in the alcohol and other drugs field for a number of years—and having been a young person at one stage—people experiment with drugs. People use drugs. People find different ways to augment their reality. It is not even a characteristic that is unique to humans; different species of animals seek to augment their reality as well. They find substances and ways of doing that. It is not unusual; people find ways to get a buzz and get high. I will not waste the House's time repeating the calls to wait for the Coroner's findings, and I do not think I need to reiterate that no member of this Chamber wants to see young people come to harm as a result of attending an event that is meant to be a good time with their friends. It is an absolute tragedy for the families involved.

In 2013 French techno duo Daft Punk—I am getting a laugh—came to Wee Waa and 3,000 people came to town for that festival. There were massive economic benefits and a tourism legacy, with people visiting Wee Waa as a result. Overall, it was hugely beneficial for the town. In Barwon we do not have many things that we would describe as music festivals, but concerts that are music and dance focused could be caught by this bill. We need to be sure we do not kill off events in regional communities. They have massive economic and cultural benefits for those communities. I am a father of three children; I have a 14-, a 16- and an 18-year-old. I have no doubt that, if they follow in their father's footsteps, they will have all sorts of adventures. My job will be done by the time they leave home, so their choices are theirs—and the same for their friends. But I reiterate that I do not want to see any young people come to harm. That is the most important point here.

Administrative law is supposed to be transparent and procedurally fair, and all the elements of natural justice are supposed to be present. I suggest that the bill should be amended to deliver clear, transparent triggers for changing the risk status of events to avoid perverse outcomes for organisers and communities. If an organiser wants to run an event, they should know exactly what triggers they will need to be aware of from previous events that will kick them into the high‑risk category. At the moment it sounds like there is still discretion as a possible way of moving something to high risk, and I think administrative law would require that we make those factors transparent and clear for everyone. We need to have an avenue of appeal and the ability for risk status to be challenged and changed through appeal. That means organisers who have been assessed as high‑risk need to have an avenue of appeal to say, if they wish, to the regulator, "We don't think that we're high risk, and here's why." That is another element of administrative law: It enables people to say, "I'd like a review of the situation." Unless we do that, the legislation does not really contain those elements of fairness.

We need to tighten the definition. We need to define exactly what comes under this bill and what does not. I know that any ticketed event that is music or dance focused with 2,000 or more people in attendance could be affected by the bill. I would not want to see a corroboree caught up, for example—an event out west involving a cultural event for Aboriginal people. When the Lumpy Underdaks—that is actually a band—play for the Outback Trek charity, it is a partially ticketed event. Again, we need to define "ticketed event". Does that include partially ticketed events? I would not want to see that event caught by the bill. A military tattoo involves dance, music and thousands of people. Statistically, people in that audience could die; could it be caught up? I realise it is a stretch, but Carols in the Domain and other carols events are ticketed events attended by thousands of people. I do not want to see perverse outcomes and I do not want to see economic benefits denied not just to regional communities but also to Sydney as a result of this bill.

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