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Amsterdam’s ‘Night Mayor’ Criticises Sydney’s Lockout Laws, Offers Sensible Advice

Written by Zanda Wilson on November 30, 2016

Mirik Milan has served as the ‘Night Mayor’ of Amsterdam since 2012, and now in an interview with the ABC has detailed his opinion of Sydney’s controversial lockout laws.

Milan is currently in Sydney as a keynote speaker for the Electronic Music Conference (EMC), and in his ABC interview he explained that although it isn’t his place to come in and say that Sydney is “doing it all wrong”, he does believe the laws are “a symptom of the way the government is dealing with the night time economy”, adding that they “don’t make a lot of sense”.

Blaming venue operators won’t bring about behavioural change, according to Milan. “I think behavioural change comes from bottom-up initiatives, investing in your community and trying to change their behaviour from within,” he said.

New South Wales law states that venues within the lockout zone most deny entry after 1:30am, and cannot serve drinks beyond 3am. Milan says that a system which results in huge numbers of people leaving venues at the same time is a flawed one. “When you push thousands of people out onto the street… it’s going to cause a lot of noise for neighbours and it’s also not controllable,” he said.

During a roundtable discussion at EMC, Milan reportedly questioned why there hasn’t been any dialogue or consultation between the NSW Government and its Victorian counterpart. “What I don’t really understand is isn’t there any exchange between Melbourne and Sydney?” he questioned, according to the interns.

Milan seemed to suggest that he thinks Melbourne has really got it right in terms of the process of consultation between government and industry, too.

A new investigation into Sydney’s lockout laws was sparked earlier this month after the revelation that The Star casino had been seriously under-reporting the increase in violence at the venue since the laws were implemented. The Star has been notoriously exempt from the laws since they came into practice.

Last week, Sydney producer Flume used one of his ARIA Award acceptance speeches to urge NSW politicians to “keep Sydney open” so that the next generation of artists will have the same opportunities afforded to him.

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