Sydney's lockout laws to be relaxed but will it save the city's nightlife?

Written on the 28 November 2019 by David Simmons

Sydney's lockout laws to be relaxed but will it save the city's nightlife?

The NSW Government has made the decision to wind back some of the controversial lockout laws that have decimated the city's once-vibrant nightlife.

Extended trading hours for venues and bottle shops, a relaxation of after-midnight drink rules and other changes will be introduced from January.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says while the initiatives have made the city safer change must be made to ensure the city's nightlife survives.

"Sydney has transformed dramatically over recent years, and we need to ensure we have a strong and vibrant night-time economy that reflects our position as Australia's only truly global city," says Berejiklian.

"Following a detailed review of the Joint Select Committee's recommendations, we will implement changes over summer to ensure Sydney has a thriving, safe and diverse night life that can be enjoyed by all."

Specifically, on 14 January 2020 the following changes will occur:

  • Remove 1.30am last entry for all venues in the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct, including those on Oxford Street.
  • Remove restrictions on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glass after midnight in this precinct.
  • Extend 'last drinks' at venues with good records in this precinct by 30 minutes.
  • Extend bottle shop opening hours across NSW until midnight from Monday to Saturday, with 11pm closing on Sunday.
  • Increase small bar patron capacity from 100 to 120 across NSW.

Consistent with the Joint Select Committee's recommendations, existing laws will be maintained in the Kings Cross precinct.

Despite the windback general manager of Eventbrite Josh McNicol says there is still plenty to be done to rejuvenate the city's once thrilling nightlife.

"We welcome today's announcement, but also acknowledge the long road ahead for local venues and promoters who've had their businesses decimated by these laws," says McNicol.

"Winding back the lockout is a good first step, but local venue owners are telling us that they need the NSW Government to go one step further and offer dedicated support to help recover lost patronage and rebuild the city's nighttime economy."

The lockout laws were introduced by the NSW Government in 2014 following a number of alcohol-fuelled violent deaths and attacks in Sydney.

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Author: David Simmons

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