New legislation introduced into NSW parliament’s Upper House this week, proposing that Sydney venues that serve food keep their kitchens open all night, is already being seen as a potential killer to Sydney’s already ailing nightlife.
The Liquor Legislation Amendment bill, reports The Daily Telegraph, would require bars and venues with restaurants to keep their kitchens open and staffed at all times while alcohol is being served. Speaking to the Telegraph, Kings Cross venue co-owner Danny McPherson described this provision, on top of the lockout laws and other regulations, as “insane”.
Clarification 7/11/14 12.05pm: The initial report by Music Feeds indicated that this legislation would apply to all venues with restaurants. This is not the case. The legislation will specifically target venues with “primary service authorisations” and not those with other kinds of licenses, such as small bars or hotels.
Specifically, Deputy Premier Troy Grant told Parliament that the amendment is aimed at venues who operate as restaurants during the day and then as bars after the kitchen closes. “This will address concerns that some licensed restaurants with an authorisation under section 24 (3) of the Liquor Act 2007…that enables liquor to be served without meals, trade as restaurants by day and then morph into bars later in the night,” Mr Grant said.
“We built a kitchen in our venue to try and look after our clientele and now the Government is turning that gesture against us and it’s becoming a financial liability,” McPherson said. “If the market was there to keep a kitchen open late at night we would, but it’s not. It’s unbelievable, business should be able to operate based on demand.”
“The over-regulation of this industry is just insane,” he added. “We have enough problems as it is with the ID Scanners and now this. The State Government has killed Kings Cross, the damage is done.”
Many Kings Cross venue owners have reportedly been struggling in recent months because of liquor legislation and the lockout laws. One of Kings Cross’ most prominent night spots, The Backroom, has already shut its doors and certain investors have resorted to instating a new incentive scheme offering commercial tenants located on the Kings Cross strip free rent as a bid to bring back business lost in the post-lockout economy.
According to the Telegraph, business owners have reported a 40 per cent loss of revenue post lockout. Sydney state Independent MP Alex Greenwich said heaping more restrictions on an already struggling industry was irresponsible.
“It just adds another level of regulation and red tape for venues that run safe businesses,” he said. Presumably, Barry O’Farrell is still shedding no tears.