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SLAM Loses Patience With Planning Minister Matthew Guy Over Agent Of Change

Live music advocacy group Save Live Australia’s Music (SLAM) has lost patience with Victoria’s Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy.

In a statement headlined “Where are the live music reforms you promised?”, SLAM stated, “The music community has lost faith with the Minister for Planning’s inaction on implementing the Agent of Change principle in the planning system to help protect live music venues and musicians livelihoods.”
Spokesperson Helen Marcou said Guy made pronouncements and promises about implementing the Agent of Change principle. But he failed to deliver.
On December 12 last year, the Minister said in Parliament, “…We have been looking at ways to ensure that the Agent of Change principle plays an important role and at how it can be implemented best… we will find a way… (we) will do that work over the summer period and the coming weeks to ensure that live music remains one of Melbourne’s greatest assets.”
On January 8 this year, on 3AW breakfast radio, the Minister stated, “…The live music scene is a great contributor to our inner city economy; it’s one of the things that sets Melbourne apart… so we really have to do everything we can to protect it and the best way to do that is through the planning system.”
SLAM, Fair Go 4 Live Music and Music Victoria met with Guy twice in January and February to discuss residents’ complaints of music venues noise and how the Government would implement Agent of Change to protect them.
Marcou pointed out, “The Minister promised to ‘work over the summer period’. We’re now in deep winter and still the Government has delivered nothing. In the seven months since that promise to Parliament, the Minister for Planning has failed to deliver. We’ve been patient with the government and this Minister for Planning – but no longer.”
The Agent of Change means that it’s not just music venues that have to pay to keep the noise down. Builders of new residential developments have to ensure that these are sound-proof.
Among live music venues whose future could be threatened by new nearby residential developments (or permits being applied) are Cherry Bar in AC/DC Lane, The Reverence Hotel in Footscray, and The Gasometer in Collingwood.
Matt Bodium from The Reverence Hotel said his venue was on one of the busiest truck routes in the state. While the design of the proposed building development next door takes note of the traffic noise, not so for the Reverence’s music. “Without the Agent of Change laws there are foreseeable negative ramifications for both the unsuspecting future residents of this development and The Reverence Hotel,” he stated.
Shannon Vanderwert from The Gasometer Hotel said developers moving into inner city areas should realize that residents want to move into the area because of their bustling culture. The Gasometer has always been known as a live music venue, and it is our intention for it to remain as so. We hope to work with the developer to not only make it an inviting place for new residents, but one where they can still enjoy live music at the Gasometer five nights a week.”
SLAM also pointed out that reforms to the Building Code to cut down on red tape had not been acted on by the Minister for Planning. They were announced in January this year, and were supposed to be implemented by last month.

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