Following the successful rescue of legendary Sydney live music venue, the Annandale Hotel, Leichardt’s ‘rock n roll’ Mayor Darcy Byrne is continuing to campaign his support for live music.

Mayor Byrne, joined by Hoodoo Gurus frontman Dave Faulkner and Shadow Minister for Planning Luke Foley, is headed to NSW Parliament House this morning in a bid to end the continued persecution of live music venues under legislative red tape and noise complaints, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

In a press conference to take place at 11am this morning at Parliament, Mayor Byrne and his cohorts are calling for the statewide rollout of Cr Byrne’s ‘Good Neighbour Policy’ – the same that he secured for the Annandale hotel – which sees monthly meetings between live music venue operators and residents to talk out concerns before they turn into costly legal battles involving local councils.

Shadow Minister Foley said the push for statewide changes was “about sending a message of mediation before litigation.” Noting that civil roundtable discussions between residents concerned about noise and live music venue owners could curtail any mountains made from molehills. “This [Good Neighbour Policy] plan will allow noise complaints between residents and venues to be resolved over a coffee or a beer rather than in the courts.” – Mayor Darcy Byrne

Mr Foley proposes that a new law, regulation, or amendement to the Protection of the Environment Operations Act is all that would be needed. “The way the law is structured at the moment, you can run off to a local court for a noise abatement order,” he says. “We want [the state government] to change that so the parties have to sit around a table and resolve the matter before anyone runs off to court. The irony is it’s often the person who makes the most noise about it that gets heard rather than the silent majority.”

People seem to be willing to put up with industrial, building and traffic noise, but if someone is listening to a piece of music they don’t like, that is deeply offensive and they try to stop it,” said Hoodoo Gurus frontman Dave Faulkner.

Noise complaints have been the first warning sign for venues; Dan and Matt Rule, the Annandale Hotel’s former owners, were forced into a nasty eight year long legal battle with Leichhardt Municipal Council over late-night trading and noise complaints that spiralled into legal costs exceeding $200,000.

Mayor Byrne points out that the Annandale is a high profile case but other Sydney venues, such as the Sandringham and Hopetoun hotels, had also been forced into closure under financial strain and fighting prosecutions imposed by local councils acting on behalf of complaining residents.

“Councils have been costing ratepayers and licensees hundreds of thousands of dollars through unnecessary legal action,” said Cr Byrne. “This plan will allow noise complaints between residents and venues to be resolved over a coffee or a beer rather than in the courts.”

The Oxford Art Factory’s Mark Gerber said that residents’ anxieties over noise “get out of hand” when there is no line of communication with music venues. “We had meetings with the council and police and neighbours and through having adult discussions . . . and finding out what the concerns were we brought about solutions,” says Gerber. “”If there is a rule that people have to sit down and talk first, most people would be surprised to find the person across the table is not an ogre. They might actually be trying to do something good for the community and the culture of the city.”

The proposed changes would mostly affect suburbs such as Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Newtown, Enmore, Erskineville, parts of the CBD, and Annandale – the crux of the recently proposed and unanimously passed development of a live music precinct that runs along Parramatta Road, from Petersham to Sydney University.

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