FOSTER musician Janine Garvey wanted to use her talents to support people affected by the devastating East Gippsland bushfires.
Janine decided she would busk in the community space laneway of her hometown and donate all the proceeds to bushfire aid.
But wanting to do things properly, Janine looked into council permit requirements and her plans came to a grinding halt.
Busking permits in South Gippsland Shire Council cost $121, a fee Janine described as “an active deterrent”, especially when compared to costs in some other municipalities such as Baw Baw where busking permits are free, Melbourne City Council where they cost as little as $30 and the City of Ballarat which charges $5.
The singer-songwriter said she doesn’t busk a lot but wanted to be able to do so without so much red tape and cost, especially as Foster had a laneway space with a design chosen by the community and featuring a U-shaped section for busking and events with informal seating.
“Buskers enrich the town,” Janine said.
“You don’t often come across a bad busker. It’s a bit of fun, makes the town more lively. People stay in the street longer, spend more. It’s good for tourism.”
Now she is fighting back with a change.org petition calling on South Gippsland Shire Council to cap busking permits “at $20 or less to encourage street performers and make it affordable for all”.
By Monday morning the petition had attracted 218 supporting signatures.
Nerissa Richter wrote “busking brings life to our streets and should be affordable to all performers”.
Andrew Murray said buskers should be encouraged because they bring spirit into the community and Karen Sherry said youth needed to have opportunities to learn how to entertain and create options to do something they can be proud of.
Rod Coughran-Lane said busking was “a wonderful way to have an audience and find out what works for you as a performer”.
A South Gippsland Shire Council spokesperson confirmed the current cost of a busking permit was $121. The spokesperson said the fee was per event, however, if a busker wanted to be in the same location for several days in a row, that would be considered as one event.
“This fee has been in place for several years and is set to be reviewed in 2020,” the spokesperson said.
“Currently we have not had a lot of interest in street busking within the shire but public interest and opinion will be sought as part of the review.”