NSW Labor will invest $103 million in NSW’s contemporary music scene as well as committing to bringing back lost music venues over the next four years, to repair the damage from a decade of venue closures under the NSW Liberals.
Labor is launching its plan for music in NSW at iconic venue The Lansdowne, supported by top NSW artists Ngaiire, William Crighton, Charlie Collins, and KLP.
Labor will invest $103 million to support contemporary music over the next four years.  
Sound NSW
This includes establishing a contemporary music office, Sound NSW, to work with industry and support the ongoing development of contemporary music in NSW.
Sound NSW will sit within Create NSW; it will be modelled on Screen NSW and have its own board.
Contemporary Music Strategy
Sound NSW will be charged with the development and delivery of a 10-year Contemporary Music Strategy so that there is finally a plan for the future of NSW music for the first time in the state's history.
NSW is currently the only state without a contemporary music strategy.
Funding priorities
Priorities for funding will be developed by Sound NSW.
But it will focus on First Nations music as well as on rebuilding skills across the music sector, including of managers, technical and production workers.
Bringing back lost venues
Labor’s music plan includes a commitment to dramatically strengthen planning provisions to protect existing venues and produce new venues. A Minns Labor Government will:

  • Strengthen support for venues, including longer trading hours and lower licence fees for music venues. Labor would establish a Cultural SEPP which would give councils the power to change rules to support music venues in their local area, including rules around trading hours, outdoor performance and planning and sound regulations.


  • Harmonise liquor and planning approvals to make it easier to open new venues and include new incentives including floor space and density bonuses for developments that include new music venues.


  • Examine expanding the heritage air space scheme which has operated successfully to save key theatre venues in Sydney, and apply it to other areas of Sydney and to save and develop music venues.


  • Provide funding of up to $250,000 to consider the need and develop a business case for permanent outdoor festival and concert infrastructure, in four locations: central Sydney, Parramatta, western Sydney and regional NSW to support our festival and concert culture.


  • Establish a $8 million Vivid Venues fund to support soundproofing, ventilation and video screen technology which will pay half the cost of venue upgrades including sound proofing for eligible venues.


  • Labor would streamline sound complaint processes for venues. Seven NSW agencies currently regulate venue sound.

Over the past 12 years under the Liberals, the number of music venues in NSW has halved, according to new data from Liquor & Gaming NSW, with just 133 licensed venues left in the state.
A parliamentary inquiry into NSW’s live music sector heard evidence that the NSW Liberals’ lockouts alone closed 176 venues.
The inquiry exposed ridiculous restrictions on music venues across NSW, dubbed “the Footloose laws”.
These laws banned certain genres of music, instruments, even mirror balls.
Labor succeeded in removing many of these restrictions with opposition amendments to the law in 2020 including protecting the right of venues to hang a mirror ball.
Labor will deliver a fresh start for NSW music, and has already announced it will:

  • Establish a $250 minimum performance fee for musicians where public money is being used to fund an event.


  • Convert the office of the 24 Hour Economy Commissioner to a statutory appointment and expand the Night time economy strategy to Newcastle, the Central Coast and Wollongong.


  • Make permanent the temporary rapid approvals for outdoor dining developed during COVID.


  • Complete the state’s first Music Census, mapping music venues, performances and music infrastructure including across regional NSW for the first time.

Quotes attributable to Chris Minns, NSW Labor Leader:
“NSW Labor has a comprehensive plan to support our creative industries.
“We want to set up our state for the long term, backing the jobs of the future in our creative sectors.”
Quotes attributable to John Graham, NSW Shadow Minister for Music and the Night Time Economy:
“Labor believes that the music sector should be supported in the same way the screen sector has been.
“This will mean jobs and growth and will let us tell NSW stories long into the future.”
Quotes attributable to Paul Scully, NSW Shadow Minister for Planning & Public Spaces:
“In 12 years this Government has closed more than half our music venues. Labor wants to build them back in this next four years.
“A big part of this is making sure our planning settings support and foster this rebuild.”
Quotes attributable to Yasmin Catley, NSW Shadow Minister for Customer Service & Digital:
“After 12 years of lockouts and lockdowns this is the moment when music in NSW can reach its potential.

“Most of the industry is based here, but we need to back our grassroots venues as well as festivals and artists for it to succeed.”