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Govt reveals plans to scrap Sydney lock-out laws

“It’s time to enhance Sydney’s nightlife”: NSW premier agrees to a partial axing of lock-out laws ahead of night time economy inquiry results

By Anna Grace on 09 Sep 2019

Govt announces plans to scrap lock-out laws

Sydney skyline

image © David Iliff

The New South Wales (NSW) government has announced it plans on scrapping Sydney’s controversial lock-out laws at the end of the year, except in the King’s Cross precinct.

A parliamentary committee has been conducting an inquiry into the effects of the lock-out laws, which were introduced in 2014 in response to alcohol-fuelled violence, and the wider night time economy, which will be presented on 30 September.

“I’m more than happy to relax or even repeal the laws depending on the committee’s findings,” NSW premier Galdys Berejiklian announced on Sunday (8 September).

“Community safety will always be a major focus for my government, but we need a balanced approach. Sydney is Australia’s only global city and we need our night-life to reflect that,” said Berejiklian.

The lock-out laws mandate bars, pubs, clubs and music venues set last entry to 1.30 a.m. and stop serving drinks at 3 a.m. The restrictions apply to establishments in the city’s central business district (CBD) and King’s Cross precinct.

“Sydney is Australia’s only global city and we need our night-life to reflect that”

Many, including Live Nation Australasia boss Roger Field and Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore, have stated that the laws have exerted a strong negative impact on the city’s nightlife. The planned changes to the laws have been welcomed by live music professionals.

John Wardle, general manager of music policy advocate Live Music Office, called the potential axing “a milestone in the rebuilding of the cultural and economic nighttime future of the city of Sydney.”

Keep Sydney Open, a grassroots movement opposing the laws, celebrated the decision – “a huge moment” –, while demanding more details about the decision to exclude King’s Cross and on what the changes would entail for venues.

However, the move has been criticised by the president of the Australian Medical Association, along with other medical professionals, as a step backwards for public health.


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