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WAM rejects lockout laws

4 May


Following calls by the AMA aka Australian Medical Association to introduce lockout laws across WA after an isolated incident in Perth and Northbridge over the weekend, WAM would like to voice its concern over such a proposal.

In consideration of the damning evidence already available for east coast lockouts, WAM strongly believes similar lockout laws would be hugely detrimental to WA’s entertainment and cultural vibrancy, and would likely cause further social problems.

WAM CEO Mike Harris commented, “Lockout laws have proven to be ineffective both here in WA previously and in other states. Where they have shown any statistical decrease in anti-social behavior, it has tended to be more a shifting of the problems or a pyrrhic victory in that the cultural and economic cost to the entertainment sector has been significant.

“In relation to the footage that has triggered the latest call for lockouts it is quite evident that those involved in the fighting were not patrons of the venue outside where the fighting took place. Calling for lockouts is plucking the low hanging fruit of social cures; we need to be asking why are there gangs of bored youth in Northbridge who are unlikely to be patrons of any of the establishments in that area.

“Lockouts restrict the free movement and choices of patrons, the vast majority of which are law abiding and only out for a good time. They impact on the viability of venues and that in turn has a major impact on the live music industry. The vast majority of musicians need live performance opportunities to earn money and to progress their careers.”

It is WAM’s view that the lockout laws would also adversely impact what WAM advocates: the encouragement of a lively local music and creative scene. Mike Harris continued, “WA takes great pride in the successes of its artists such as Tame Impala and John Butler; take away their opportunities to develop as artists and we won’t have the next generation of West Australian musicians on the global stage.”

WAM’s pleased that both Police Minister Liza Harvey and State opposition leader Mark McGowan, while both condemning the violence, have also shown negativity towards such lockout proposals. Harvey also pointed out assaults in Northbridge as a whole, “have reduced by 36 per cent”.


Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The ArtsGovernment of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Lottery West, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.