Scene from Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival.
Scene from Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival. Contributed Daniel Tran

Doof taskforce set to clamp down on secret dance festivals

ILLEGAL bush doofs - electronic dance music parties with locations that are often kept secret until the last minute - have been the bane of Kyogle Council in recent years.

At Monday night's Kyogle Council meeting, newly-elected councillors voted for the establishment of a taskforce, or similar, to investigate a whole-of-government response for the management of dance parties in Northern NSW to be coordinated or administered by a designated Government agency.

Kyogle Council currently has one development application before it for a dance party at Yabbra Road, Yabbra proposed for 21 to 23 April, 2017.

Earlier this year a bush doof, The Omega Festival, was to be held in the Kyogle area on Jubullum land at Tabulam but police closed the site down due to health and safety concerns and 'dangerous breaches'.

The doof, which cost revellers $190 a ticket, was then relocated to a secret location near Grafton. It was there that 24-year-old David Gallagher died alone in his car amid 2500 revellers.

Property owners were slapped with a $3000 fine.

According to the staff report, prepared by Kyogle Council's Planning And Environment Department, "Government agency and council responses have tended to be reactionary and often reverting to inefficient issuing of Orders or litigation. The risk has been that the financial income may outstrip any punitive litigation that may face event organisers afterwards and that this approach does not effectively deal with any community concerns.

"Such a taskforce could consist of elected representatives, relevant agency representatives (notably including NSW Police), industry representatives and stakeholder groups. An agency such as the Department of Planning and Environment, for example, could be responsible for administering it.

The report called for better communication and consistency between council areas. It also addressed difficulties council had in working with anonymous organisers which made their locations secret up until immediately before the event.

Secret doofs were time consuming and expensive for councils and agencies, the report stated.

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