Indigenous performers will be able to showcase their culture without the need for a permit under a new policy proposed by the City of Sydney.
The proposed changes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practitioners come with a range of new rules for buskers in public areas managed by the council.
Connie Dawson, from the Koomurri Indigenous Cultural Dance Troupe, believes the new policy is another step in ‘bridging the gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Ms Dawson said, “it has made us feel more welcome in the public space of street entertainment. It is also part of what we see is a reconciliation action plan for us.”
According to Lord Mayor Clover Moore, “the new policy recognises the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to experience and share their cultural heritage in the public domain.”
In addition to bridging the gap, Ms Dawson believes the new rules have created an opportunity to promote Indigenous culture.
“They really have given us the opportunity to showcase our Indigenous culture. It makes us feel more welcome and has created a space for us to promote our Indigenous culture.”
If the new policy goes ahead, any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person will be able to express Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage without needing a permit from the council.
According to the council, expressions of Aboriginal cultural heritage include knowledge and cultural expression, such as songs, stories, dances, performing arts and the creation of artistic works.
In addition to the changes for Indigenous performers, the complex guidelines for busking in the city will be replaced with clearer ones, in a bid to increase busking in all areas of the city.
Local busker Annie Whitty is hopeful the new policy will clear up the permit application process.
Ms Whitty said, "At the moment, applying for a permit can be a little tricky. The guidelines are sometimes difficult to follow so I hope the council simplify them in some way"
The Lord Mayor stated, “busking adds life and soul to a city and makes our public spaces more interesting and creative.”
Busking will be re-classified under three categories, moving from a general application process to a more specific one, making it easier for prospective buskers to apply for the correct permit.
The new categories are:
- Low impact: soloists or small groups using a performance space under 2 square metres
- High impact: acts that require a larger space or use high-risk equipment, or generate a louder or more repetitive type of sound
- Extended duration: human statues or pavement artists creating works over a longer timeframe
The council’s policy aims to open up more locations around the city to be used for busking, to reduce pressure on high-traffic busking locations and to spread life and creativity around the city.
Public feedback on the policy will be sought to inform the proposed changes, and will be open until October 29.