The long-awaited independent review into Sydney’s lockout laws has finally been made available for the public, and the findings have included the suggestion that a trial period of relaxation of the lockouts could be applied to venues offering live entertainment.
The laws have been subject to significant public backlash since they were implemented in 2014, and earlier in this year the NSW Government appointed High Court Judge The Hon Ian Callinan QC in charge of reviewing submissions to the review from businesses and the general public.
In Callinan’s incredibly dense report, which you can check out here – he found that there was no doubting that Sydney’s live entertainment had been adversely affected by the implementation of the 1:30am lockout and the stopping of alcohol service at 3am. “I am concerned that live entertainment and those employed in it (including sound and light technicians etc) have lost opportunities of employment,” says Callinan.
He suggested too that live music venues could be permitted to allow entry until 2am, and to serve alcohol until 3:30am, “so long as live entertainment is being generally continuously offered throughout the evening until then.”
Despite the suggestion of these slight exemptions for live music venues, the report generally suggested that the lockout laws were generally “appropriate to securing the objectives of them.”
Callinan did find though, that the cutting back of takeaway alcohol sales to 10pm “makes little or no contribution to violence and anti-social behaviour” in the areas in which the lockouts were implemented. As a result, the report suggests that “the sale of takeaway liquor at licensed premises could be extended to 11pm, “and of home delivered liquor to midnight.”
On triple j’s Hack program today, Tyson Koh from Keep Sydney Open spoke about the report. “Some of it’s actually quite bizarre.. slightly pompous… and out of touch”.
Koh was also asked what he thought of the suggested changes to extend lockouts by half an hour. “Will it make a difference? Yes it will, but not enough.” As a result, Koh concluded that Keep Sydney Open will “definitely” be holding another rally in the near future.
Callinan worked his way through more than 1800 submissions to the review, which was originally due to be released in August before he requested more time to go over the submissions.