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Easing Sydney’s Lockout Laws “Not A Justified Risk”, Say Surgeons

One of the many groups with vested interests in Sydney’s controversial lockout laws, The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), has again spoken out in favour of the restrictions, decrying any attempt to loosen or ease the laws an unjustified risk.

The surgeons’ response comes after the review into Sydney’s lockout laws was released late yesterday. The review, by High Court Judge The Hon Ian Callinan QC, suggests that a trial period of relaxed lockouts could be applied to venues offering live entertainment, allowing entry until 2am and the service of alcohol until 3:30am, but surgeons aren’t buying it.

As Fairfax Media reports, Dr John Crozier, a RACS councillor, says, “Justice Callinan notes that relaxing the amendments in any of these ways involves risk.

“We know that each hour in trade results in significant increase in domestic violence statewide…That, in the view of the College of Surgeons, is not a justified risk.”

The Darlinghurst Residents Action Group wasn’t too impressed with Callinan’s suggested amendments either. Spokesperson Jo Holder deemed the proposed relaxation of restrictions on live music venues as “reasonable”, but feels that even the slightest change will cause issues for the area.

“There are still about seven or eight live-music venues in Kings Cross,” Holder says.

“It’s the Bermuda Triangle of social problems because it’s a lot of density in a very small place. [A] half an hour [extension] doesn’t sound like much. But we see a dramatic increase in anti-social behaviour [for every increase in trading time].”

Ms Holder and many others are concerned about what definition of ‘live entertainment’ the New South Wales Government adopts, because it could determine how many venues are granted extensions if the Government accepts Callinan’s recommendations, which propose that New South Wales excludes all kinds of recorded music such as that mixed by DJs.

Callinan’s recommendations were met with mixed responses, and the New South Wales Government is expected to hand down its response before the end of the year.

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