Date set: Lockout laws to be scrapped this summer

 

The NSW Government will scrap the lockout laws in the Sydney CBD on January 14.

Last drinks will be enforced at all venues at 3:30am, however night life patrons will be able to enter venues after the 1:30am lockout.

Kings Cross will still have the lock out restrictions in place.

Repealing the laws in the Sydney CBD means patrons will now be able to buy shots after midnight and drink spirits on the rocks.

Crowds have been flocking to Newtown since the lockout laws came into effect. Picture: Gordon McComiskie
Crowds have been flocking to Newtown since the lockout laws came into effect. Picture: Gordon McComiskie

Bottle shops across NSW will also be able to close at midnight from Monday to Saturday, and 11pm on Sunday.

The government has taken the steps to repeal the laws following an Upper House inquiry into Sydney's night time economy, which recommended scrapping the laws in the Sydney CBD in September.

Eerily quiet in Kings Cross … Picture: Gordon McComiskie
Eerily quiet in Kings Cross … Picture: Gordon McComiskie

The inquiry held earlier this year heard evidence from the hospitality and medical industries along with the government.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was the right time to repeal the lockouts which were introduced five years ago to boost safety.

"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," she said.

"While the extended trading hours will provide a boost for the night time economy, community safety will always be the focus."

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Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the changes would revitalise Sydney's night time economy.

"We are working to ensure the NSW economy grows and provides an improved standard of living for our citizens and a big part of this is stimulating growth in the night time economy," he said.

Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres said the changes would make Sydney a bigger draw card for tourists.

"It's time to embrace the 24 hour economy that creates jobs, fosters arts, culture, life performance and safety on our streets," Mr Ayres said.

The government will monitor the changes and conduct a review after 12 months, which will be led by Mr Ayres.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was the right time to scrap the laws. Picture: Dylan Robinson
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was the right time to scrap the laws. Picture: Dylan Robinson

Australian Hotels Association NSW chief John Whelan welcomed the changes, and said they would help reinvigorate Sydney's night-life, however, he was disappointed the government had chosen to keep the last drinks measures recommended by the inquiry.

"We look forward to the review in 12 months and remain committed to working with

Government and all stakeholders to help create a safe and vibrant Sydney and

King's Cross," Mr Whelan said.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said today's news is a "vital first step" in breathing oxygen back into Sydney's nightlife.

"I am proud to have stood with the musicians, artists, hospitality workers and business owners most affected by the lockouts, and the many thousands of Sydneysiders who want to keep Sydney open," she said.

"I look forward to working with the NSW government and the wider community to fix the damage caused by the lockouts and put in place policies that could allow a relaxation of the laws in Kings Cross upon review in 12 months."

Committee for Sydney CEO Gabriel Metcalfe said the announcement was a major turning point for Sydney's night time economy.

"Let's all celebrate that Government is removing the lockouts from most of the city. And then let's keep going, by working to cut back some over-regulation that can make it hard for venues to operate," Mr Metcalfe said.

"The announcement that Minister Stuart Ayres will be leading the reforms is also important - for too long there hasn't been a clear strategy on how to maximise Sydney's night time economy and having a lead Minister will be able to keep the momentum and focus where it needs to be. Stuart Ayres is a great champion for Sydney and is ideally placed to drive this agenda".

 

Stuart Ayres will lead the review into the lockout reforms Picture: Christian Gilles
Stuart Ayres will lead the review into the lockout reforms Picture: Christian Gilles

 

From January 14 the following changes will be introduced:

 

- 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


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