Barry O’Farrell Is Shedding No Tears For Sydney’s Ailing Nightlife

Former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has expressed complete indifference to the detrimental effect Sydney’s lockout laws are having on local clubs and business, responding on Twitter to the news of the closure of a prominent Kings Cross nightclub with the hashtag #notearsshed.

As reported by Stoney Roads, seven months after then-Premier O’Farrell ushered in the controversial lockout laws, one of Kings Cross’ most prominent night spots, The Backroom, has shut its doors, citing the lockout laws as the primary reason for their closure.

“Things haven’t been working for a while. Plain and simple, it is the lockout laws that have definitely affected our closing,” venue owner Raul Gonzales told Pulse Radio. “When you have a business model that relies on late night trading and you’re not getting it, then its just not feasible to keep it running. The foot traffic in the Cross has dropped significantly.”

Upon publishing their article on the club’s closure, Stoney Roads tweeted it to the former Premier, to which he responded, “Thx for letting me know,” then added, “#notearsshed”. This statement of indifference towards the city’s ailing night scene and the closure of a local business has expectedly stirred up further anger and resettlement on Twitter.

“Ex-Sydney Premier @barryofarrell caring heaps for local small business. Why #notearsshed? No Grange on the wine list?,” wrote triple j host Lindsay McDougall, aka The Doctor. “Why can’t they just go to Marquee like all good bogans? #barrybrainnocompute,” responded Sydney band The Preatures. “Smh @barryofarrell. shaking my fucking head,” added Australian DJ Nina Las Vegas.

“Wow, what’s up with having contempt? This is a small business that’s had to close. At least show some grace,” one Twitter user said to O’Farrell. “Barry, this sort of carry on shows exactly why there is such a gap between politics and youth of today #dickhead,” wrote another.

Many businesses in Kings Cross and other areas affected by the lockout legislation have been struggling in recent months, prompting investors to instate 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.

This scheme, due to start sometime this month, follows a prediction made by Kings Cross business owners back in May of a downturn in the area in the wake of the lockout laws. According to The Daily Telegraph, Kings Cross Liquor Accord chief Doug Grand said businesses were facing “a downturn not seen in 50 years” that will leave the area “decimated”.

While the future for late-night business in the Cross looks discouraging, not all is lost for patrons of The Backroom. Owner Raul Gonzales has promised he and his business partner David Freeman will be opening a new venue next month in a new location.

“We’ll be announcing something new in the next couple of weeks and are expecting to open by mid November. Basically we’re opening something similar to The Backroom but outside of the Cross and with a different name.”

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