Clearer rules for busking in Sydney

Posted .

The City of Sydney is asking the public for feedback on a new policy for busking.

The new approach will open up busking opportunities in more city locations and replace complex guidelines with clearer guidance to encourage more diversity in Sydney's busking culture.

As part of the new policy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will no longer need a busking permit to practice their cultures in public spaces managed by the City.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the new policy was developed after broad consultation.

"Busking adds life and soul to a city and makes our public spaces more interesting and creative," the Lord Mayor said.

"We've developed the policy with the help of musicians, performers, residents, businesses, music industry representatives and government agencies, and we've learned from the world's best busking cities.

"Our new policy also recognises the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to experience and share their cultural heritage in the public domain."

The permits classify busking performances according to the level of impact they have on their surroundings, including the noise and duration of the act.

Acts will be classified under three categories:

  • Low impact: soloists or small groups using a performance space under 2 square metres;
  • High impact: acts that require a larger space or use higher-risk equipment or materials, or generate a louder or more repetitive type of sound; and
  • Extended duration: human statues or pavement artists creating works over a longer timeframe.

The use of busking location maps will be replaced with criteria for assessing a suitable busking location, anywhere in the local area.

Where appropriate, the City will work with landholders and neighbouring councils to provide buskers with the opportunity to perform in new places.

"Opening up more locations across the city will reduce the pressure on the most popular, high-traffic busking locations and attract performers to new locations," the Lord Mayor said.

"This will reduce competition, increase access and bring more variety to acts taking place at popular locations."

The local approvals policy for busking and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practice is on public exhibition until 29 October.

The City encourages locals, buskers, businesses and anyone with an interest in the busking policy to provide feedback at

This feedback will inform the final policy and future initiatives to support, encourage and increase busking in Sydney.

For media inquiries or images, contact Elaine Kelly. Phone 0477 362 550 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Anusha Muller.
Phone 0408 494 545 or email

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