NSW Government Considers More Late-Night Public Transport As Lockout Law Review Continues

The New South Wales Government is considering trialling more late-night public transport and an accompanying late-night app, after submitting an action plan to the independent review into Sydney’s controversial lockout laws this week.

The 25-point action plan — the result of roundtable discussions with representatives from sectors like live music, hospitality, health, police and transport — has tabled suggestions for the revitalisation of Sydney’s nightlife, including a trial of public transport up until 4am on Friday and Saturday nights within the next 12 months.

John Wardle, Policy Director at the Federal Government’s Live Music Office, took part in the roundtable discussions. Speaking with Music Feeds, Mr Wardle says late-night public transport is crucial to Sydney’s future.

“Ensuring that there’s access to the city and people can return home to the suburbs should be an important component of a late-night economic strategy,” he says.

“If we look to other cities with thriving, creative night-time scenes like New York City and Melbourne, public transport is a serious component contributing to access and then the health of that late-night cultural ecology.”

Aside from suggestions for more public transport, the roundtable action plan proposes the launch of an annual late-night event where all state cultural institutions are open, in the vein of Melbourne’s White Night.

The plan also suggests turning more vacant spaces and public places into areas for pop-up performances and art, possibly increasing retail and non-licensed trading hours, and the creation of a night-time economy master plan within six months.

While the action plan doesn’t propose any changes to Sydney’s current lockout laws, Mr Wardle believes the ideas in the plan are a sign of the NSW Government’s willingness to hear from all sectors affected by late-night regulations.

“It’s fantastic that the State Government has shown the initiative, brought everyone together and collaboratively drafted an action plan,” Mr Wardle says.

“The State Government gets heavily criticised in this policy space, and here they’ve kicked a goal, and not only showing good faith but acting in good faith.

“There’s full support for a contemporary music strategy from the State Government too, from the police, from the hospitals. This is fantastic.”

The roundtable action plan has been submitted to the independent review of Sydney’s lockout and liquor laws, which is expected to hand down its finding later this month. The action plan’s suggestions are also being considered by various Government ministers and departments.

NSW Deputy Premier Troy Grant says the respective portfolio ministers are evaluating the plan’s ideas, including “more late-night public transport, clearer defined rights for live music venues in our planning system and a greater role for arts and cultural organisations to contribute to our night-time economy”.

To read the 25-point roundtable action plan in full, head to the NSW Government website.

Watch: ‘Closed Sydney’ – Lockouts Timelapse

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