Raise a glass, folks.
A NSW parliamentary committee has formally recommended Sydney’s controversial 2014 lockout laws be withdrawn across the city’s central business district, excluding the once-thriving Kings Cross nightlife region.
The Joint Select Committee on Sydney’s Night Time Economy todayreleased its report on the alcohol service regulations, which were introduced after a spate of deadly alcohol-fuelled assaults in the city.
To counteract the city’s “underperforming night time economy”, the report calls for the abolition of the 1.30am venue lockout laws, along with the 3am last drinks provision across Sydney’s CBD.
It also calls for regulations around the service of shots and cocktails after midnight to be loosened, and supports the purchase of takeaway alcohol until midnight Monday to Saturday, and until 11pm on Sundays.
While Liberal MP and committee chair Natalie Ward acknowledged “the 2014 laws were an appropriate circuit breaker and were successful in reducing violence in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross,” she said “in addition to the violence dropping, so did the City’s vibrancy and the number of people engaging responsibly in the night time economy.”
The committee states those amendments should be reviewed 12 months after they take place, and all changes should be “monitored extremely closely to avoid any adverse impacts.”
Those relaxations will not apply to Kings Cross, as the committee found “the impact of the 2014 laws remains overwhelmingly positive in the Kings Cross precinct” and resulted in a marked downturn on non-domestic assaults.
Instead of winding back the laws in Kings Cross, the committee recommends “the development of a pathway to deconcentrate and diversify the Kings Cross precinct, with a view to a further review of the appropriateness of the 2014 laws in 12 months.”
The report vindicates young opponents of the lockout laws, who have long claimed the regulations have stifled the city’s cultural expression, limited the ability of young people to experience the city’s nightlife, and limited employment opportunities in creative fields.
It calls for a youth representative to report to a proposed one-stop lockout law coordinator, and the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority, on how the city’s regulations impact young people.
The news comes weeks after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced her government would move to wind back lockout laws across much of the city, pending the committee’s full findings.
It is expected the legislative changes recommended by the report will be enacted by the end of the year.