Keep Sydney Open announces NSW election candidates

February 26, 2019
By Alana House

The Keep Sydney Open Party has unveiled its candidates for the NSW State election on March 23. 

They are high-profile members of Sydney’s local Government, music, and cultural industries. All are aged under 40 and with combined backgrounds in music, large-scale events, as artists and performers, the candidates have been long-term contributors to the vibrant fabric of NSW.

Tyson Koh has spearheaded the Keep Sydney Open movement since the introduction of the failed lockout laws in 2014.

For almost five years Koh has been at the forefront of the debate on nightlife and culture in NSW. In that time he has organised protests, contributed to Government roundtables and harnessed a groundswell of disapproval into a political movement.

A passionate contributor to Sydney’s music and arts scene, Tyson produced ABC’s iconic Rage program for eight years and has programmed music for major events like Sydney Festival, the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and Darling Harbour’s NYE 2015 fireworks display.

Koh said: “The voters of NSW have seen first-hand what happens when Government reaches too far into the lives of private citizens. Our culture, our nightlife and our economy have suffered as a result. It’s time to change that for all of NSW.”

Elected to council in 2016, Councillor Jess Miller served as City of Sydney Deputy Lord Mayor from 2017-2018 and is one of the youngest people to hold elected office at the City of Sydney. She is currently Deputy Chair of the Environment Committee and the Cycling Advisory Committee, sits on the Disability (Inclusion) Panel and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Panel.

At council Jess introduced the review of Sydney’s late night control plans to support the night-time economy, artists, musicians, small bar owners and venues that underpin it. She is the Program Manager on urban liveability to sustainability and innovation company, Republic of Everyone.

“The community and business are fed-up with opaque, reactionary and sledgehammer approach to policy,” Miller said. “We represent a grassroots movement willing to fight for more balance, openness, transparency and vitality in NSW – from lockouts, to toll roads, stadiums to public housing – enough is enough.”

Jesse Matheson is a Director of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and an advocate for LGBTQI+ issues. With a background in large-scale events, government and journalism, Jesse has a unique perspective on how the cultural, legislative and economic frameworks of NSW work together.

Co-Chairing the Mardi Gras’ Social Justice Committee, he also sits on the People & Culture Committee and previously served as the Chair of the Membership Committee. Jesse is pragmatic and passionate about harnessing the power of culture to build platforms that support individual expression and inclusiveness for all.

Matheson said: “NSW has a rich history of cultural events and freedom of artistic and individual expression. The Government has placed this under threat which is unacceptable. We want a state with thriving cultural industries and ample opportunities now and in the future.”

Committed to making NSW more open, vibrant and inclusive for everyone, Keep Sydney Open’s key policies cover pressing issues in the state, including:

• Invest $100 million into contemporary music and performance over four years, paid for by reducing over $1 billion in tax subsidies for pokies.

• Close the loopholes in the NSW Lobbyist Code by broadening the legal definition of a ‘lobbyist’ to anyone lobbying for financial gain and ‘prohibited donors’ to include mining, not-for-profit gambling and companies involved in government contracts.

• Repeal the Lockouts: Repeal the lockout laws and allow 24-hour trading for well-run venues.

• Repeal the Berejiklian Government’s new licensing regulations for festivals to take effect on 1st March that will decimate the festival industry worth $1.8billion.

• End special exemptions for casinos from three-strikes liquor licensing scheme and the violent venues list. Use pokies tax revenue to fund gambling addiction support services

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