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Why BYO Venues Could Be The Answer To Lockout Problems

9 February 2016 | 11:59 am | Neil Griffiths

SA lead the way.

Following last week's news that BYO live music venues could be a reality in South Australia, many have considered the campaign as a game-changer in regards to the country's live entertainment scene and it that it could very well be the answer to the controversial lockout laws. 

Speaking exclusively to theMusic, Live Music Office Policy Director John Wardle says the principle of the submission made by the LMO, MusicSA and Musitec, to allow patrons to provide their own alcohol in live music and entertainment venues, can be utilised outside of South Australia. 

"A lot of creative people just want to present the entertainment, the music...they don’t really want to run small bars or nightclubs," Wardle says. 

"This proposal recognises that."

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Wardle goes on to say that the proposal delivers a "tiered response" to the licensing framework. 

"Governments are very good at identifying high risk and very good at putting risk-based loadings on liquor licensed premises," he explains. 

"What we’re not good at at all is saying, ‘Well, actually, there’s some activity that really doesn’t pose the risk to public safety’ and the impacts aren't necessarily going to be the same, due to size, for instance."

Even though Sydney locals are arguably suffering the most in regards to nightlife, a similar initiative has been undertaken in the city, as Marrickville venue The Newsagency allows patrons to BYO, though the room has a capacity of just 40. 

The SA proposal calls for venues with a capacity of 120 to allow BYO, but Wardle believes through discussion, there is no reason it shouldn't be increased. 

"It supports existing businesses…it means less onerous obligations for arts and cultural practitioners," Wardle says of the proposal.

The Live Music Office is also calling for the just-completed Late Trading Code to be allowed to operate on its own before the potential winding back of trading hours and conditions, which are being considered in Queensland and are in place in Sydney.

"What we’re recommending for South Australia've got a policy intervention in place, let's evaluate its operation and not make the mistake of New South Wales, which was compounding intervention on top of intervention, which has now become universally understood as lockouts, but is really a number of quite separate policy interventions from the government."

The government is expected to make a decision regarding the submission by mid-year.