Officially launching the St Kilda Live Music Precinct today, Port Phillip Council Mayor Heather Cunsolo said the initiative is about creating harmony, rather than increasing noise.
“St Kilda’s status as Victoria’s first LMP reflects our famous suburb’s past as a much-loved live music hub, its present as a renowned live music destination and its future as a ground-breaking example of how to keep live music alive close to homes and businesses,” Cr Cunsolo said.
“Making it simpler for residents to raise concerns such as noise complaints, supporting musicians and music events and slashing red tape for venues are all ways our Council can be a live music ‘one stop shop’.
“By working with the Victorian Government to celebrate, protect and promote live music, we can also help support performers, venues and hospitality businesses to rebuild after being hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A preliminary map of the precinct includes streets brimming with live music including Fitzroy, Acland and Barkly streets.
Declaring a LMP is key to progressing further – this provides a framework to support changes required to better balance the needs of venues, performers and residents in a growing suburb. Community consultation will continue to be undertaken as this project progresses.
Live music precincts (or Special Entertainment Precincts) have been set up in Queensland and New South Wales, most famously in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. Being Victoria’s first designated precinct is a fitting role for a suburb known and loved nationally and internationally for a live music scene which generates
significant cultural and economic benefits.
The next steps include:
- seeking to work with the Victorian Government to simplify, streamline and reduce the burden of regulations on live music venues and events. Four different regulators, including Council, can currently be involved with a noise complaint
- investigating a potential planning scheme amendment to protect existing and future live music venues by enshrining the existing Agent of Change principle across the LMP, instead of for individual premises. This could mean new residential developments considering existing live music venues, and the possibility of new ones opening nearby, through measures such as adequate sound-proofing.
In the meantime, Council will continue to support live music through measures including its own event programming and looking at how its permitting and noise complaint processes can be further improved.
Other initiatives announced today celebrating St Kilda’s significant live music heritage:
- interactive music history map featuring a brief history of live music venues including images and links to bands who played there. Follow the trail and visit some of these landmarks in person, stopping along the way to catch a meal or a gig
- outdoor exhibition along Acland Street showcasing iconic photographs from St Kilda’s famed post-punk period in the 70s and 80s featured from today until 10 July
- outdoor rock poster exhibition featuring bill posters from that era throughout central St Kilda from 23 July
- works by artists affiliated with the St Kilda live music scene of the 70s and 80s, which are part of the City of Port Phillip contemporary art collection, exhibited in the Carlisle Street Arts Space at St Kilda Town Hall from 11 July.
A LMP is defined as an area in which live music is recognised as a priority activity, resulting in potential changes to regulatory frameworks, governance processes and communications to support and protect live music activity.
The Victorian Government introduced planning controls in 2020 allowing councils to designate live music precincts, with the aim of considering “the social, economic and cultural importance of live music venues as they make decisions on local planning permits”. Port Phillip is the first Victorian Council to take up this
St Kilda was chosen as a LMP due to its rich live music history, including the City of Port Phillip’s annual St Kilda Festival. It’s also home to almost 70 per cent of known music venues in Port Phillip and is well-served by public transport.
The Agent of Change principle means that when anyone applies to establish, alter or demolish a live music venue, or to establish a new noise sensitive use near an existing ‘Live Music Entertainment venue or in an identified precinct (as identified in the Port Phillip Planning Scheme), consideration must be given by the
applicant and Council (or in extraordinary circumstances the Minister) to the impact of the proposal on opportunities for live music