Keep Canberra Open Is The ACT’s Answer To Strict New Licensing Proposals

Whodathunk: heavy restriction of the nightlife industry spawns a pretty livid response, no matter where it happens.

Now, taking some pointers from their brethren in Sydney, a cadre of Canberra business owners have formed Keep Canberra Open to act against proposed changes to the ACT’s liquor laws. 

In a paper released last month, several options were bandied about with the noble goal of cutting down on late-night violence. 

Among them include a plan to increase license fees 300% for venues that stay open ’til 4am, up to a stunning 500% if they plan on operating until 5am. 

If you think the consequrences of those changes would be devastating on the 38 Canberra venues licensed until 4 – and the extra 11 open until 5am – well, the locals agree.


Ryan Sabet, stakeholder in a couple of Canberra venues and founder of the new campaign, says “the proposed legislation changes are a lockout in disguise and they’ll end the late-night industry… and they’ll also destroy thousands of jobs.”
Keep Canberra Open doesn’t just mirror their NSW counterparts’ logo, either. Sabet is deadset “we need to address the cultural glorification of violence, rather than saying people who listen to music late at night are somehow attached to violence.”

A petition to counter the proposed changes has already racked up nearly 5,000 signatures in two days, and the group is staunchly advocating for the government not to punish lawful traders due to the behaviour of a few belligerent dickheads. 

The proposals, which include planned incentives for more small venues, have been shot along to the Liquor Advisory Board for their input. If you feel so inclined, you can read the white paper here, and sign Keep Canberra Open’s petition riiiight here, too.