Gladys Berejiklian urged to hold 'immediate' safety roundtable as NSW music festival season kicks off


The music festival industry is urging the Berejiklian government to urgently consult with them to develop a new set of safety protocols before the busy summer circuit is in full swing.

The renewed call for collaboration comes after the NSW upper house voted last month to scrap the government's new licensing regime, in a move Premier Gladys Berejiklian called “grossly irresponsible” after a series of drug-related deaths at festivals last year.

Industry groups Live Performance Australia and the Australian Festival Association implored the NSW government on Thursday to "immediately convene a roundtable to discuss regulation and safety at music festivals".

Festival industry organisers have urged the Berejiklian government to consult them on new regulations before the summer circuit hits full swing.

Festival industry organisers have urged the Berejiklian government to consult them on new regulations before the summer circuit hits full swing.

Live Performance Australia chief executive Evelyn Richardson said the government "needs to step up and work with us" as the summer festival season was "already under way".

"We need to make sure we do all that we can to ensure festival safety," Ms Richardson said. "This needs to happen now."

Australian Festival Association general manager Julia Robinson said a roundtable discussion was the best format for addressing the recommendations of the coronial inquest into music festival deaths, expected next month.

"We don't want to be unregulated. We just want better regulation," Ms Robinson said.

"We've got an opportunity to look at this with fresh eyes, and with the benefit of the findings from the inquest. That is what we should take to the roundtable to discuss."

Ms Berejiklian said last week she was considering "all options" to have the government's festival regulations reinstated, after Labor moved a disallowance motion in the upper house to abolish them.

She said they had removed regulations on high-risk festivals and left nothing in their place, adding the reason they were introduced was to save lives.

The regulations, which required "high risk" festivals to meet strict licensing conditions including developing safety management plans, were implemented in March.

But they were strongly opposed by the music festival industry which claimed they were not consulted on the drafting process, and said the new measures could drive some operators out of NSW due to increased compliance costs.

The disallowance motion, which was backed by the Greens and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, passed 21 votes to 18.

Labor MLC John Graham moved the motion after an upper house inquiry into the festival regulations recommended they be scrapped and a regulatory roundtable be "immediately" established.

Mr Graham was one of eight members on the upper house inquiry, which included four government MPs who dissented against the recommendation to abolish the regulations.

But the inquiry unanimously endorsed the proposed roundtable, which was also supported by Liquor & Gaming NSW, the agency responsible for festival licensing.