Crowds at Splendour in the Grass in 2017.
Crowds at Splendour in the Grass in 2017. Marc Stapelberg

Why festivals breached patron numbers in 2017

UPDATE 5.10pm: A DEPARTMENT of Planning and Environment spokesperson said the department's compliance team works hard to ensure companies meet the conditions of their approvals.

The two fines issued to the North Byron Parklands Cultural Events Site for failing to comply with patron number restrictions were enforced to ensure the safety of festival goers at future events.

He said patron number restrictions are vital in order to enable safe evacuation in cases of emergency.

The breaches resulted from community, fundraiser and promotional tickets being given away.

The spokesman said North Byron Parklands has identified systems to ensure they can remain compliant for future events.

The Falls Music Festival penalty was issued on July 17, 2017. The patron number restriction was 22,500 and was exceeded by 2 per cent.

The Splendour in the Grass Music Festival penalty was issued on October 16, 2017. The patron number restriction was 32,500 and was exceeded by 2 per cent.

 

 Original story: NORTH Byron Parklands site was issued two $15,000 penalty notices in the past financial year, for failing to comply with patron number restrictions.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment issued a statement saying their compliance team continued its operations in the Lismore and Byron areas last financial year to make sure quarries and other state significant companies were meeting the conditions of their approvals.

During last financial year the team carried out 109 inspections, issued 11 penalty notices and eight official cautions in the Northern region.

The Department's Director for Compliance, Ben Harrison, said the team regularly conducts compliance audits and meets with businesses to provide compliance expectations which help companies avoid breaching requirements.

"Our compliance team has expanded from seven to 30-plus over the past four years to cater for the rapid growth in development across the state and to ensure existing operations were adequately monitored" Mr Harrison said.

"We've boosted our investment by opening a northern office in Murwillumbah and have more boots on the ground in managing compliance and delivering education to assist industry to ensure they are doing the right thing.

"Thanks to our larger team we are now able to better service NSW, including the Byron and Lismore areas in a strong and proactive way."

Enforcement action within the Byron and Lismore areas included:

. North Byron Parklands Cultural Events Site ($15,000 penalty notice) - failure to comply with patron number restrictions during Falls Music Festival 2016/2017; and

. North Byron Parklands Cultural Events Site ($15,000 penalty notice) -- failure to comply with patron number restrictions during Splendour in the Grass Music Festival 2017.

. Champions Quarry ($3000 penalty notice) - providing false and misleading information as part of the Modification 3 assessment.

Mr Harrison said the Department's compliance team conducts spot checks without warning, regular inspections and audits, and works with companies to ensure they are sticking to the rules.

"We are here to investigate complaints from the public, local councils and other state government agencies but also build effective partnerships with industry."



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