The Review Into Syd’s Lockout Laws Is Out & It’s A Bitter Pill To Swallow

The results of the review into Sydney‘s highly controversial and fairly shitty lockout laws are in, after former High Court judge Ian Callinan finished reviewing more than 1800 submissions about whether or not the laws are a bag of dicks.

The results were due in August but Callinan asked for an extension after the Supreme Court ruled that a number of locations, including live music venues and strip clubs, would be exempt from the lockout laws because the secretary of the Justice Department did not have the right to “declare” a city venue subject to the lockout.
All in all, the results vary from “measured” to “piss-weak”, with Callinan finding that, while the laws did their job, it might be worthwhile trialling a slightly more relaxed version:
“In the end, and not without some hesitation, I have formed the opinion that whether the withdrawal or variation of the measures would impair the achievement of the legislative objectives could only be determined after a trial period and experience of them in a reduced form.”
He’s recommending that a 2 year trial be conducted that would push back lockout and last drinks from 1:30am and 3am to 2am and 3:30am respectively, which would provide you enough extra time to drink maybe a schooner and a half at a reasonable pace.
He’s found that takeaway alcohol sales don’t really contribute to “anti-social behaviour” in the precincts:
“The sale of takeaway alcohol, whether before or after 10pm, makes little or no contribution to violence and anti-social behaviour in the Precincts, even less so when it is home delivered.”
As a result he’s proposing that takeaway alcohol sales from shops be extended to 11pm, and home delivery of alcohol gets pushed back to midnight.
Callinan says he “concerned” that live entertainment venues will lose business, but he also more or less says that they knew that would happen and we should, to some extent, suck it up:
“Some impact upon business viability and vibrancy was foreseen by the legislature as an inevitable consequence to some extent, and is in that respect consistent with the objects of the Amendments.”

He’s also acknowledged that, while it has curbed late night alcohol consumption, it’s also had a negative impact on the nightlife:
“Attempts have been made by some licensees to adapt their business models and programmes to the changed hours, largely unsuccessfully. People nowadays tend to start and end their nights out much later than in the past. So far they have been resistant to changes to earlier hours.

“The lockout has reduced opportunities to visit and revisit different venues, meet different people and enjoy different entertainment at them, and, in combination with the cessation of service at 3am, has reduced the consumption of alcohol in the Precincts.”
Callinan’s research concludes that concerns that the lockout laws would simply push alcohol-fuelled violence into the surrounding areas were largely unfounded:
“Some of the expenditure, discretionary as much of it is, and therefore some of the profits and employees, are likely to have been displaced to other areas including Double Bay, Bondi and Newtown, and to the Casino. 

“Although the number of visitors displaced is substantial, there has been no significant increase in violence in the displacement areas.”
In conclusion: if Baird listens to his proposals, you’ll be able to get booze from the bottleshop a little bit later and for at least the duration of the 2 year test, you’ll get very slightly more relaxed lockout hours at live music venues.
You can read the whole report here if trawling over large Government documents revs your engine.
Source: NSW Government.
Photo: Chloe Sargeant.