“The live music industry is dead” says NSW Police Minister

You can forget about that gig you were thinking of going to on the weekend: live music is over. Well, it is according to NSW’s 52-year old Police Minister Mike Gallacher anyway.

“I’m sorry that the live music industry is dead,” Gallacher told State Parliament last night as lockout laws were passed. “You only have to look at the ‘70s and ‘80s to see how prolific it was right across the pub scene. The places were packed to the rafters to go and listen to the music, not packed to the rafters for the grog.”

Gallacher went on to fondly reminisce about the heyday of Selina’s Nightclub at Coogee and the former Bondi Life Saver and bands like Skyhooks, Dragon and Cold Chisel. Audio of Gallacher’s comments have been posted on Twitter by 2GB State Parliament Reporter Katie Kimberley. Listen below.

Greens MP John Kaye, one of the five MPs who voted against the legislation last night, attempted to defend the music industry. “Late-night performances will be driven out of the central business district and some very important venues,” Kaye told parliament. “We know that good quality live music contributes to a reduction in violence.” Kaye later attempted to introduce an amendment to the legislation adding the Barangaroo precinct, where Sydney’s new casino will be built, to the lockout zone. That amendment was rejected by a vote of 26-5.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s plan to rush his new restrictions on late night trading through parliament succeeded last night. The legislation – which was only announced last week and will enforce 1.30am lockouts and 3am “last drinks” in the CBD and Kings Cross precinct, as well as 10pm closing times for bottle shops and mandatory minimum sentencing for assaults under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

The new laws will “make our streets safer,” said Premier O’Farrell. Greens and independent MP Alex Greenwich, who opposed the bill, said he was given a briefing from the government on their legislation an hour before the lock-out and mandatory sentencing bills were introduced. “Normal parliamentary process was abandoned to prevent scrutiny of the legislation and time for debate,” Greenwich said. However, the bill was passed with the support of the Opposition.

It’s now been confirmed that while the “one-punch” assault laws will be in place from this weekend, the laws on lockouts and last drinks will not be in place until April 2014.