Melbourne is widely recognised as the live music capital of Australia and state body Music Victoria has launched a strategic plan today to ensure its growth and development into the future.

Coinciding with Music Victoria’s annual membership drive kickstarting today, the peak state music body has issued a strategic action plan for the Victorian music industry to ensure “the next Gotye, Vance Joy, Courtney Barnett or Hiatus Kaiyote don’t fall through the cracks,” in the words of CEO Patrick Donovan.

The action plan, entitled Music Victoria – Position and Priorities outlines a vision for the state’s music sector for the next four years with 19 key recommendations to the Victorian Government with a view to “increasing artist and audience participation, capitalising on music’s power as a unifying force to bring communities together and tell our stories and deliver an economic and social dividend for Victoria,” writes Mr Donovan.

Music Victoria is urging the government to take a holistic approach to supporting the music sector, which will in turn deliver positive benefits to the state’s economy and culture. Timed in the lead up to the Victorian state election on 29th November.“We want to ensure that the next Gotye, Vance Joy, Courtney Barnett or Hiatus Kaiyote don’t fall through the cracks.”

To do this, the 19 VIC Government recommendations are broken down into five broad categories: celebrating and promoting Melbourne as a music capital and tourist destination, supporting the live music scene both in the city and rurally, improving the resources and economic outcomes of Victoria’s music sector through employment and business, greater financial assistance and career development to musicians, and continuing to reduce red tape and generating reforms that support live music.

Some of the recommendations to the Victorian Government  from the Position and Priorities paper include:

  • Applying for Melbourne to become a UNESCO City of Music
  • The establishment of a Contemporary Music Centre with an office, meeting hall, live music space, and interactive Hall of Fame
  • Establishing a similar Regional Live Music Office
  • Promoting Melbourne’s music history by renaming streets and landmarks
  • Establish a Quick Response Grant Program to offer career-defining opportunities
  • Parking permits for musicians to load gear in and out of venues
  • Easier compliance for venues to meed the Building Code of Australia standards
  • Four years worth of funding towards Music Victoria

The Music Victoria paper also pushes for the introduction of the coveted ‘Agent of Change’ principle to protect live music venues from the ongoing threat of noise complaints, chiefly through the introduction of a two-tiered noise standard system to distinguish between ‘cultural clusters’ and quieter neighbourhoods.

As well as demonstrating the economic benefits of Victoria’s music sector, valued at $1.04 billion (bigger than AFL), Music Victoria has long been pushing better changes for the state’s music sector. These including cutting red tape for All Ages gigs and pushing for live music reforms under the Napthine administration earlier this year, but as Patrick Donovan points out, there’s plenty more to be done.

“So far we have simply fixed what was broken by implementing long overdue initiatives to bring Victoria closer to the support received by the music sector in New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia,” says Mr Donovan.

“It is now time to build on these achievements with a more proactive approach to continue to develop and nourish the Victorian music community to the benefit of all Victorians.”

Singer-songwriter Jen Cloher, a Music Victoria member and ambassador has added her voice of support to the membership drive and the new action plan. “We need to have our voice heard at the level of government to ensure policies are made with our best interests at heart,” she says. “I don’t take Melbourne’s thriving music community for granted – we’re privileged. That’s why I’m a Music Victoria member.”

The timing of Music Victoria’s push couldn’t better, their action plan following on from a call by Victorian health groups to impose strict lockout and curfew laws on Melbourne live venues, closely modelled on the tough changes that were recently imposed on Sydney’s live music scene.

Additionally, there’s also been the recent loss of a number of long-running Melbourne music icons; historic St Kilda pub The Espy has been on the market for sale, the Barley Corn Hotel in Collingwood closed its doors, while The Palace Theatre has once again come under threat from property developers as new plans have been submitted to City of Melbourne for approval.

Read Music Victoria’s Position And Priorities paper here. For full details on Music Victoria membership and benefits, head to

(Image: Julia Lay. Source: CherryFest 2013 Photo Gallery)

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