News

The busking blues

Busker Andrew Finlay has had a gutful of feeling like a criminal after twice being charged with solicit donations in a public place.
Busker Andrew Finlay has had a gutful of feeling like a criminal after twice being charged with solicit donations in a public place.

A WHITSUNDAY busker has voiced his frustration at being treated like a criminal after facing Proserpine Magistrates’ Court, for the second time in two years, on Monday.

Andrew Troy Finlay was found guilty of soliciting donations in a public place and placed on a $150 bond for three months, with no conviction recorded, after pleading not guilty to the charge.

The sentence was dished out reluctantly by Magistrate Athol Kennedy who said: “I can’t see anything wrong with busking but it’s against the law and that’s all I can deal with.”

As a musician who has commanded paid gigs at KC’s, Banjo’s, the Dingo Beach Hotel and several venues in Bowen, all Finlay wants to do is entertain.

He started busking in the Whitsundays at the age of 12. He is now 29 and has only recently come up against opposition for his vocation by the police – who have increasingly backed up the Whitsunday Regional Council’s stance against busking.

“I used to do it (busk) every second weekend but it’s become more and more difficult for me in the last couple of years,” Finlay said. “I’ve been spoken to by the police more than 50 times since 2008.”

Throughout Queensland, busking is monitored by local government, with permits issued by councils to the entertainers that seek them. Without such a permit, buskers are effectively breaking the law and the Whitsunday Regional Council currently has a policy in place that doesn’t support the practice.

The Council refuses to hand out permits to anyone.

Council’s Program Manager Environment and Compliance Scott Hardy was able to confirm that the policy had “been in place for a number of years” but had no idea what was behind the initial ruling that formed the policy.

Mayor Mike Brunker was equally confused. “It must be the only town in Australia where busking’s not allowed,” Cr Brunker said, referring to Airlie Beach.

“I haven’t got any problem at all with the concept of busking so it’s a policy we could look at reviewing. “It’s one of those previous Council decisions that we’re not aware of and we’re quite happy to look at it in the future.

“I actually think it could add to the culture of the town but we’d need to put in place some controls such as time limits and guidelines.” Officer in Charge of Whitsunday Police, Senior Sergeant Steve O’Connell, had a similar view when quizzed on the way busking was policed.

“We don’t have an issue with busking,” Snr Sgt O’Connell said.

“What we do have a problem with are the crowds that mill around buskers outside licensed premises late at night because that can lead to disturbances.

“I’d have no problems with it if it was controlled.”


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Whitsunday Council to crackdown on holiday company

CRACKDOWN: Rooms and houses available to rent on Airbnb come in all shapes and sizes.

Council has announced a crackdown on a holiday company.

Bare-foot thief hits Cannonvale industrial estate

Pictures of the men wanted for questioning following a spate of break-ins in the Cannonvale industrial estate.

SIX premises have been robbed in a Cannonvale industrial estate.

Action on and off the water for Airlie Race Week

SPECTACULAR SIGHT: Already 113 entries have been received for this year’s Race Week. Photo Sharon Smallwood

Action is on and off the water for Airlie Beach Race Week.

Latest deals and offers

Action on and off the water for Airlie Race Week

There are nine days left to enter this year’s Airlie Beach Race week and already the 113 entries have surpassed the 104 starters the event attracted last year.

Stardust one of 45 multihulls to compete at Hamo

FAST CAT: The exceptionally fast cruising/racing catamaran, Stardust, will be among a large feet of multihulls at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2016. Photo: Multihull Solutions

Stardust will be one of 45 multihulls to compete at Hamo Race Week.

Brahmans seem set for finals run

BIG TIME: Kai O’Donnell made his Brahmans A-grade debut with captain Dane Vardanega.

With another win, the Brahmans seem set for a strong finish.

Raiders set sail for season finish

OPTIONS: Whitsunday Raider Petelo Kelemeti sets off with the ball.

The Whitsunday Raiders have set themselves up for a strong finish.

Struggling Sea Eagles fall

ON THE MARK: Sea Eagles’ Jared Campbell kicked three goals on the weekend. Photo: Justin Van Heerdan

Struggling Sea Eagles fall short again.

Students planting to help save the planet

SAVE THE PLANET: Indiana O’Grady, Ava Grove, Tyson Williams-Allen and James Miller at Cannonvale State School where they will plant native flora for National Tree Day on Friday.

Cannonvale students will be planting to help save the planet.

Dr Karl, Barnaby Joyce and 'how to unf*** the planet'

Dr Karl will be at Splendour in the Grass 2016.

Controversy and laughs at Splendour in the Grass panels and forums

The Bachelor: Vinteaea tells why she had to walk out

Vintaea Carlos was one of 22 "bachelorettes" looking for love on the fourth season of The Bachelor.

Queensland beauty leaves Richie at rose ceremony.

Amber Heard claims Johnny Depp is stalling divorce

Amber Heard claims Johnny Depp is delaying their divorce

The Bachelor host: this year's season is a cracker

The Bachelor host Osher Gunsberg.

GUNSBERG says tonight will be "the best night of TV of the year".

Kerri-Anne Kennerley to Sonia Kruger: "Stay brave"

She said her television peer should "stay brave"

Swimwear designer looking for love on The Bachelor

Noni Janur on her first day of filming.

The 25-year-old is one of 22 women vying for Richie Strahan’s heart

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Chance to own an island

Keswick Island is for sale.

Keswick Island to go on the market