In this first edition of ‘In Committees’, the Kings Cross Hotel and Oxford Art Factory shine a light on challenges faced by venues and the live music industry in NSW; members hear about the challenges faced by regional communities tackling drug rehabilitation; and the case for replacement of the Windsor Bridge is placed under the spotlight at a second hearing. We hope you enjoy our new format – further information about committee activities can be found on our website.
Where has all the music gone? Finding answers in Kings Cross
On 10 May, Portfolio Committee No. 6 – Planning and Environment visited the Kings Cross Hotel and the Oxford Art Factory for the inquiry into the music and arts economy in NSW. The committee met with the management of the King Cross Hotel following evidence from the Chief Executive of Solotel, suggesting that the venue is operating under overly stringent licencing conditions including the mandated use of ID scanning machines and the ‘lockout laws’.
The committee meet with the management of the Kings Cross Hotel
The committee then visited the Oxford Art Factory, where the General Manager expressed concerns about the demise of Oxford Street and the surrounding entertainment precinct. The committee heard that the Oxford Art Factory is one of the few medium-sized venues in Sydney, providing a vital space for new and emerging artists to perform. The committee watched performances by Australian artist, G Flip and Public Service Broadcasting, a London-based group. The committee’s next hearing is on 28 May in Sydney.
Challenges in drug rehabilitation in regional and rural areas
Portfolio Committee No. 2 – Health and Community Services conducted its second set of regional hearings for the inquiry into the provision of drug rehabilitation services in regional, rural and remote New South Wales in Dubbo and Broken Hill on 9 and 10 May.
In Dubbo, the committee heard evidence from the local council, as well as legal, Aboriginal and community representatives regarding the need for a local drug court and for rehabilitation and detoxification facilities. Witnesses are the Broken Hill hearing included a working group which was formed specifically to address the inquiry. The group highlighted the need for facilities in the Far West and provided powerful stories around the effects of drug addiction, including a social worker who described his story of getting clean and working to help others. Further hearings will be held in Lismore and Grafton in late June.
Testing the case for replacement of Windsor Bridge
The second hearing for Portfolio Committee No. 5 – Industry and Transport’s inquiry into the Windsor Bridge replacement project took place on 7 May. The committee heard from technical experts, a proponent of the project, and Roads and Maritime Services and Transport for NSW, which also appeared at the first hearing in April. Community Action for Windsor Bridge (CAWB), which represent community members opposed to the bridge, also gave evidence in April, alongside Hawkesbury Council, heritage experts and other government agencies. The committee expects to table its final report in late June.