Wollongong and Illawarra venues and residents will have access to a more streamlined process for noise complaints and late night trading, as part of moves by the state government to increase vibrancy in regional town centres and CBDs.
Acting CEO of Hospitality & Gaming NSW Tarek Barakat spoke with pub, bar and club operators in Kiama on Tuesday, to brief them on the regulator's priorities and support for the sector.
The roadshow comes as the NSW government closes in on passing new legislation that will extend the remit of the 24 hour Economy Commissioner to include Wollongong, as part of a package of reforms intended to support live music and encourage patrons into restaurants, bars and clubs later in the evening.
A key point of conflict between venue operators and the community had previously been noise complaints, however a more streamlined approach would reduce friction in this area, Mr Barakat said.
"At the moment, there are six or seven different entities that can be part of the noise complaint process at some point along the way, what this is trying to do is streamline that," he said.
Down the road from where the industry briefing was taking place is Kiama cafe Finding Fillmore's, which received dozens of noise complaints between May 2021 and February this year.
The dispute involved the operator, Kiama Council, residents, police and other government bodies, and under the reforms Mr Barakat said a situation similar to this could be resolved more smoothly.
"Where there's a noise complaint that's related to a licensed premises, then Liquor & Gaming NSW will take the lead," he said.
"For everyone, venues and residents alike, it should be a much clearer pathway to making, working through and resolving that complaint."
Mr Barakat said there is also more support for small venues such as licensed cafes and bars to cut through red tape with the introduction of a hospitality concierge in late 2022.
"That hospitality concierge holds that [venue's] hand all the way through the process that can be quite difficult if you're a very small operator."
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