Shadow Minister for Music and the Night Time Economy, John Graham and Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp at The Lass O'Gowrie on Wednesday.

Newcastle poised to become the first “music community” in NSW

Newcastle could become the first designated “music community” in the state, following the launch of Labor’s $35 million live music plan.

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp was joined by the Shadow Minister for Music and the Night Time Economy John Graham, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon, members of the Newcastle Live Music Taskforce and industry stakeholders at the Lass O’Gowrie on Wednesday, to pledge the party’s support for live music in the region.

Under Labor’s plan, $1.6 million would be invested in supporting music communities across the State, with Newcastle identified as one seven ‘hot spots’ of live music.

Mr Crakanthorp said that while the region faced competition from the Sydney CBD and inner west, Western and South Western Sydney, the Illawarra, North Coast and Tamworth he was hopeful that Newcastle would be the first region given the designation.

“I am committed to re-building our music industry,” he said. “The Live Music Taskforce has worked hard over the last 12 months getting the Live Music Inquiry here and seeing the results of that input through the industry recommendations.

“Based on that work, we want Newcastle to be the first community in NSW to be designated a “music community” under this plan.”

It is expected the designation would recognise a region’s musical heritage, communities that value live music and the importance of venues, institutions in the local music scene.

It would also see the government working with councils and stakeholders to remove bans and restrictions on entertainment; establish frameworks to protect and promote music venues, support all-ages events, and apply for funding from state and federal programs.

NSW Labor has pledged a total of $35 million to support live music in the state including $11.5 million to support working musicians, up to $10million to create a music development hub in Sydney, $3 million to keep live venues open, $1.3 million to rebuild touring circuits, $4 million to support festivals and events, $1 million to support community radio, and 1.6 million for music communities.

Written by Stephen Bisset


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  1. This is all an obvious front to shore up votes for the state election, but it is actually rather hollow and does nothing really to grow the local industry, TAFE have cut music subjects that Labor won’t bring back, local music business companies aren’t hiring and its opening up only slivers of opportunities for musicians in this regulation crazy city/state.

    I emailed Tim’s office two weeks ago and subsequently spoke to James (who sits on the “task force”) as a bit of a last resort because as I wrote above – no one is hiring!! Not even for free work experience! James made the point that the “task force” was almost closed, there was no real opportunity for input for those who desperately want to work in the industry but are not a musician. When asked if he could put me in contact with opportunities/pathways, he blame shifted that “it’s a free market”, second last on the ballot is where Labor will go for me in front of Liberal, they have not addressed HOW they are going to help grow the industry, only thrown ballpark dollar figures that mean everything to me voting for them.

    Labor do not take the Newcastle music industry seriously, it is all politics then total ignorance. The above article is just the bare minimum Labor need to do to mitigate the onslaught of apartments set to take over this city therefore there are no growth opportunities to make the Newcastle music industry stand out like it once did and sadly the free market is not doing much to help those get into the industry (again non-musician) when there is record low wages growth. Liberal do the same inactive/reactive method when it comes to the local industry, either way Newcastle is screwed and our talent will continue to move elsewhere without those whom are qualified to help them succeed in the best way to actually stay here but bureaucrats are going to make sure that does not happen.

    So so sad.

  2. More Labor lies and trivialisation of an actual commitment to TAFE:

    So if Liberal don’t support TAFE at all and Labor can’t remember if they support it or not, it really does seem to be the free market or minor parties are the only people who can be relied on for education of music in Newcastle and the Hunter. Grant Walmsley and Ben Steer have set up their own music academies recently in light of the broken TAFE system but they are too niche and don’t accept those wanting work experience either. A wholistic lack of collaboration of those in the industry only looking out for themselves as the above article indicates.

    I’ll be voting [1] for the free market party this weekend. o.O

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