While a motion for a Parramatta Rd Live Music Precinct was passed at the last Leichhardt Council meeting, the Greens proposed that the Precinct also become a “pokie free zone”.
A packed gallery – including the National Live Music Coordinator from Sounds Australia, Dr Ianto Ware, Kristy Brown from Music NSW and varied musicians – applauded the decision for a music hub along Parramatta Rd between the University of Sydney and Taverners Hill.
Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne said in order to implement Sydney’s first potential Live Music Precinct, Council would need co-operation from the State Government, Marrickville Mayor Victor Macri and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
“Our vision of transforming the wasteland of Parramatta Rd into rock and roll central is beginning to come to life,” he said.
“This emerging ‘live music coalition’ is growing by the day and we won’t stop until we have made Parramatta Rd and this global city a live music hub.”
The Greens proposed a pokie ban within the Live Music Precinct, which Mr Byrne flatly rejected.
Greens Councillor Rochelle Pourteous said pokie machines are the number one reason for the decline of live music hubs in Sydney.
“Pokies have been the death of live music since they were introduced by Bob Carr’s Labor Government in 1995. If we are serious about saving and promoting live music then let’s get serious about tackling the problem of poker machines in our pubs,” she said.
“Pokies compete with the same space in a lot of licensed venues particularly pubs and clubs, and too often poker machines went out over the space used for live entertainment. It’s much easier for a publican to put some pokie machines in than it is to organise a varied program of live music and live entertainment.”
Mr Byrne was unapologetic in his decision to maintain a pokie culture in the precinct.
“I think it’s pretty clear that having failed to put forward a single live music proposal in the four years that [Ms Porteous] was Deputy Mayor or Mayor that she’s opportunistically putting forward a negative policy at the very start of this process,” he said.
“You don’t rule things in or out at the very beginning and I think if Rochelle [Porteous] was serious about contributing positively to making this Sydney’s first live music precinct, she wouldn’t have voted against the Annandale Hotel’s DAs in the first place and she would have put forward some proposals herself during the time she was running the Council herself during her four years.”