The New South Wales government has directed Venues NSW to seek regulatory approval to lift the concert cap at the Sydney Cricket Ground precinct from an average of four major events per year to 20.
The cap covers the Sydney Cricket Ground and the Allianz Stadium, which reopened in September following a major revamp. Currently, the precinct is only able to host up to four concerts per year.
The NSW government believes increasing this would provide a major boost at a time when the local economy continues to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. It estimates that the current cap is costing NSW businesses between A$40m (£21.2m/€24.2m/$26.7m) and A$60m a year.
According to the government, each international artist is estimated to bring A$5m to A$7.5m per show of economic benefit into the state economy, supporting thousands of jobs. The government also said the current restriction has meant that Venues NSW has been unable to host acts such as Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel and potentially Beyoncé.
The cap has also led to the reduction of cultural events such as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras after party, which was shifted to a smaller venue.
Steve Kamper, New South Wales’ Minister for Sport, has directed Venues NSW to undertake the necessary planning and environmental applications to modify the restrictions.
NSW Premier Chris Minns said: “Sydney is a global city and we should be able to host global acts from around the world. The cap means NSW is missing out on millions of dollars a year in economic activity, and the tourism and jobs it brings with it.
“We need to utilise our entertainment venues to their fullest potential and show to the rest of Australia and the world that NSW is now open for business. In lifting this concert cap to 20 per year, we could bring in an additional A$1.3bn for NSW businesses over the lifetime of the stadium.”
The NSW government said it will ensure the consultation is comprehensive, with all community stakeholders to be invited to take part. If the application is successful, the cap could be lifted as soon as October.