Liquor & Gaming NSW has offered reduced licensing fees and extra trading hours to eligible venues with the aim of increasing live music, performances and other cultural events, to help increase employment opportunities for performers and musicians.

To receive these benefits, venues must meet a variety of criteria, including holding a particular licence, having a dedicated performance space, and hosting at least two live music performances per week.

Incentives include an 80 per cent reduction on annual liquor licence fees and an 80 per cent reduction on permanent extended trading application fees, along with a one-hour trading extension.

Mick Starkey, a hotel owner in the Hunter region, is one beneficiary, telling Newcastle Herald how expensive it is to host and support the rock, and that “every little bit” of assistance helps.

“We absolutely have live music, and the discount for us is a way to pay our music licensing fees, which have gone through the roof.

“When you look at returns per square metre in your venue, live music isn’t a big one.

“This is where savings in licensing fees are a huge help, to allow people to continue to support it.”

While there was legislation introduced into NSW parliament last year aiming to revive live entertainment, Starkey pointed out that the government and the industry as a whole needed to work on encouraging audiences back to venues.

Pubs in Sydney have also been campaigning to improve nightlife after lockout laws decimated Sydney’s night economy.

In the past year, over 110 venues have taken up the Liquor & Gaming NSW offer, bringing the list to 245 venues across New South Wales.

A full list of current approved live music and performance venues who are benefitting from the discount and additional trading hours can be found on the NSW Government’s Liquor & Gaming website.

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