The NSW state government has announced an early review of the controversial lockout laws that require venues in Sydney and Kings Cross to lock out patrons from 1.30am and enforce a last call for drinks at 3am.
Reports Fairfax, a spokesperson for acting Premier Troy Grant said on Monday that a review would be carried out in June, months earlier than scheduled, after an early review was recommend by a parliamentary inquiry into alcohol and drug-related violence in November last year, because of the impact the laws have on businesses and patrons.
The review will be conducted when when the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research releases its 12-month data. “The NSW government supports evidence-based measures that balance individual and industry responsibility and that help curb anti-social behaviour,” said the spokesperson.
Many local venues have spoken out about the adverse effects the laws have had on their businesses since they were introduced in February last year to address alcohol-fuelled violence in Sydney after the one-punch deaths of Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie.
Venues like The Flinders Hotel, The Bourbon and The Backroom have all announced their closure in recent months, each citing the lockout laws as a contributing factor. Per Fairfax, there has been a 40 per cent drop in alcohol-related assaults at licensed premises in Kings Cross in the past year, but last year’s inquiry suggested it was possible that violence and anti-social behaviour was being “displaced” to other areas which did not fall in the lock-out zones.
Depending on the review’s findings, the laws may be either loosened or even tightened. The originally scheduled review in February 2016 will also go ahead.