Five years after being introduced in response to alcohol-fuelled violence, Sydney’s controversial lockout laws could be wound back as NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced a review into the city’s night-time economy.
The move to set up a cross-party committee to examine the laws comes ahead of a push in the NSW upper house from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers and the Greens to scrap the lockout.
The announcement comes following motions tabled by both Shooters and Greens MPs Robert Borsak and Cate Faehrmann to scrap the laws. The cross-party committee undertaking the review will consult with key stakeholders including police, health, community and entertainment groups, looking at potential measures to maintain community safety and health while enhancing the city’s night-time economy.
“After five years of operation, it makes sense for us to now take stock and examine whether and further changes should be made”, the Premier commented in a statement today.
However, Berejiklian has also hailed the divisive lockout laws a success, claiming the number of non-domestic violent assaults in Sydney’s CBD and Kings Cross areas have declined since their introduction in 2014 by then-Premier Barry O’Farrell. “We have always sought to strike a balance between limiting alcohol-related violence and maintaining a vibrant night-time economy,” said Ms Berejiklian.
The committee is set to report their findings to Parliament by the end of September.
Radio shock jock Alan Jones has let rip at the laws, criticising the length of time the review will take. “This is about shutting the gate after the horse has bolted,” he Jones said on his 2GB morning show today.
“These laws have crippled business and crippled Sydney as an international city. Its reputation has been damaged. They should be abandoned. Open up the city.”
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has also welcomed a relaxing of the laws, tweeting that they’d taken taken a “sledgehammer” to Sydney’s night economy and community and noting a need for other measures to ensure a “safe and vibrant nightlife”. She has suggested 24 hour public transport on Friday and Saturday nights and replacing lifetime liquor licences with renewable ones.
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