A VIBRANT and growing Central West arts and music community could be an example for Sydney to follow, says Keep Sydney Open candidate for the state seat of Bathurst, Tim Hansen.
But first, Mr Hansen says, the state's capital must abandon the controversial lockout laws that have been blamed for ruining the live music scene in the centre of the city.
The laws, introduced in 2014, require bars, pubs and clubs in the Sydney CBD entertainment precinct to close their doors to new arrivals at 1.30am and serve last drinks at 3am.
But they prompted a new political movement, Keep Sydney Open, that is now campaigning for "more vibrant and inclusive nightlife, supported by 24-hour transport, smarter policing and better services".
Mr Hansen was born and bred in Orange but attended university in Bathurst and, after a time living in Sydney, returned to the Central West last October and is now living in Carcoar.
He started following KSO as an online social media movement and when they called for candidates to run in the state election, was happy to put up his hand.
"I'm a musician and composer and I work as a tutor with the Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) and also Milk Crate Theatre, which works with people who have experienced homelessness," Mr Hansen said.
"As an artist I have definitely noticed that it's become harder and harder to make a living in NSW because there's no funding any more.
"On top of that, the lockout laws were a big slap in the face for my gigging musician friends who rely on that money to put food on the table and pay their rent."
Mr Hansen said even though he grew up in Orange, he now feels a "stronger connection to Bathurst".
"It was tough growing up in Orange as a gay kid and a creative kid," he said.
"I still love Orange but I'm just not sure I could live there again just yet. I'm just not ready to do it."
Mr Hansen said when Sydney emerges from the lockout laws, it could look to the Central West as an example of a vibrant and inclusive arts community.
"We're entering an era where micro political parties will have more sway and I think that's great," he said.
"I heartily endorse all the other candidates who are running in this election, I met them all on the weekend and they are all lovely people.
"My message to whoever wins this election is that I will spend the next four years continuing to build the local cultural community and if at the end of four years I think they have done more than me for the local arts then I won't run against them, but if I feel I've done more I will run - and next time I will have had four years of campaigning behind me."