Fairfax reported last month that the rising ticket prices for special events in NSW can be attributed to the increasing cost of user-pay policing that concert promoters have to bear. In each state across Australia, promoters and event organisers are required to pay for a police presence where the festival, sporting match or concert poses a risk to public order. The number of police required is determined by the Local Area Command, but, according to the article, with little consistency on how the the user pay fees are commensurate with the size of the event and actual public safety risk. It was reported that a group of promoters led by Chugg Entertainment have begun “lobbying” the NSW Government over concerns that they are being ripped off. Promoters generally tailor ticket prices based on the demand for the event which can be city-specific, and share the profit vertically between ticketing agencies, venues, the performers and their agents. However as Fairfax reported, promoters are becoming disgruntled with the variations in the cost of policing at events which they must pass on to the consumer – an unwelcome challenge in the already competitive Australian music festival industry, in particular. A recent five-hour concern at Dungog cost the promoter $60,000 in police fees to control fourteen thousand attendees, while a 2012 festival in Parramatta with just three thousand less attendees cost a mere $10,000.
Police Integrity Commission research revealed that police may change rosters to utilise the off-duty police wage, which is currently time-and-a-half, while charging each officer out at $100 per hour. The remainder of the fee is used where required for logistical costs, such as transporting and accommodating officers, while the remainder is revenue for head office, which last year was reportedly $8.5 million. As reported by music industry website ‘The Music’, Police Minister Michael Gallacher said that in response to the complaints, police are liaising with the Transport and Tourism Forum to re-examine user-pay policing methods.