Hillsong won’t be fined for ‘music festival’ like youth camp

Hillsong Church will not be fined by NSW Police for hosting a youth camp resembling a music festival in Newcastle, despite the state’s ban on singing and dancing under public health orders.

NSW Police issued a statement that “no infringement will be issued” to the organisers of the event.

“NSW Police have attended an event in the Newcastle area and have spoken with organisers,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Peter Glynn said.

Hillsong confirmed the youth camp was held at Glenrock State Conservation Park in Newcastle.
NSW Police will not fine Hillsong for hosting a youth camp in Newcastle. (9News)

“Following discussions with organisers and after consultation with NSW Health, no infringement will be issued.

“Event organisers are aware of their obligations under the Public Health Orders, and NSW Police will continue to ensure ongoing compliance.”

Witnesses said the church’s camp resembled a music festival, with tents set up with live music and DJs playing along with “a lot of people”.

Hillsong denied claims the event was a music festival. (9News)

Hillsong has denied any claims that the camp was a music festival.

“These events are our annual high school aged youth camps, and are not similar to a music festival in any way,” a Hillsong spokesperson said in a statement.

“Our camps involve primarily outdoor recreational activities including sports and games.

“We follow strict COVID procedures and adhere to government guidelines.

“Outdoor Christian services are held during the camp but these are only a small part of the program, and any singing is only a small part of each service.”

A Hillsong youth camp on the NSW Mid North Coast is now being called out as a "double standard" amid strict Omicron rules for hospitality venues.
Hillsong said the event is an annual youth camp. (9News)

The community and state politicians are outraged by the event.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the Hillsong event was “clearly in breach of both the spirit and intent of the order, which is in place to help keep the community safe”.

Today, Premier Dominic Perrottet said he was “completely shocked”.

“I echo the frustration and anger that other people across the state felt,” he said.

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet
Premier Dominic Perrottet said he understands the frustration of NSW residents over the event. (9News)

Under NSW public health orders, singing and dancing at music festivals, hospitality venues, nightclubs, entertainment facilities and major recreation facilities is prohibited to curb the spread of the Omicron variant.

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