Government can help clubs revive local music industry

08/13/2020

Government can help clubs revive local music industry

ClubsACT is calling on the ACT Government to allow clubs to claim the staging of live music acts as a community contribution to enable the sector to increase support for local artists.

“Live music makes a social and cultural contribution to our community. Venues, such as clubs, that support Australian artists introduce and bring music to new and old fans alike and act as an incubator for the stars of tomorrow,” ClubsACT Chief Executive Gwyn Rees said.

“Clubs are a key venue for live music in the ACT. In a usual year, clubs account for almost half of the live music spend in the ACT – more than hotels, bars, live music venues and nightclubs combined.”

A Victorian study into venue-based live music found 92 per cent of patrons believe the live music scene improves quality of life.

“Musicians were particularly hard hit by COVID as venues closed and are going to be slow to reopen due to capacity restrictions,” Mr Rees explained.

“Our clubs have large spaces, including auditoriums, where performances can be held and we believe they should be assisted in helping the live music industry get back on its feet in Canberra.”

ClubsACT is seeking an addition to what the Government deems acceptable community contributions. Clubs would be able to claim any expenses incurred from a live music performance not offset by ticket sales as a community contribution.

The ACT Government has introduced new COVID provisions to the Gaming Machine Act 2004 allowing declaration of emergency community purpose contributions.

“The example provided in the legislation of the type of contribution that could be declared in an emergency is ‘a contribution to people employed by a club for remuneration, allowances or other entitlements’.

“This change would help clubs hold live-music performances even though their costs are likely to outweigh returns under the current audience limitations,” Mr Rees said. “Clubs want to support the live-music industry and this is a practical way the Government can assist without any cost to taxpayers.

“This could be the difference between a venue deciding to hold a live act or not as they recover from shutdown, it seems like a perfect fit with the intention of the legislation.”

Clubs like the Canberra Southern Cross Club, are synonymous with Canberra’s vibrant music scene and supports acts big and small, spending approximately $250,000 a year. The Harmonie German Club also recognises the importance of live music and its engagement with the broader community, hosting local acts such as Something Like That, Each Side of Midnight and Urban Drover to name a few.  They are also are home to the Canberra Blues Society and host many international artists. 

“We think clubs could also make a real difference in reigniting the local music scene and creating safe venues for people to enjoy outstanding acts – improving their lives and giving artists the opportunity to start performing again and doing what they love.”

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Gwyn Rees, ClubsACT
gwyn@clubsact.com.au
0410 902 982

Gwyn Rees is the CEO of ClubsACT