Last month, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a committee will be reviewing Sydney’s controversial lockout laws, saying it was time to “take stock” and rethink the laws.
The committee will look at the impact the lockout laws have had on Sydney’s nightlife, with the report expected to be released to parliament by September. Now, public submissions to the committee have opened, giving you the chance to have your voice heard until July 2.
The lockout laws were introduced back in February 24, 2014, as a response to alcohol-related violence. The legislation required 1:30 am lockout from venues, and last drinks at 3 am in the CBD, which includes Kings Cross, Darlinghurst, Cockle Bay, The Rocks, and Haymarket. Five years later, over 176 venues have shut down, and the NSW economy is missing out on $16 billion a year due to an underdeveloped nightlife.
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The committee is led by Liberal MP Natalie Ward, who said in a media release:
“The Committee has been set-up to look at issues affecting Sydney’s night-time economy. This includes community health and safety but also ways to ensure that Sydney remains an attractive place to visit with plenty of options for people to enjoy the city after-hours…
We want people to enjoy a night out in Sydney’s entertainment districts without the fear or threat of violence. We also want to ensure that there are options available for those people who are able to enjoy Sydney’s nightlife responsibly. Sydney remains one of the world’s leading cities and we want to make sure that residents and visitors can enjoy all that Sydney has to offer…
We know there are strong feelings on both sides of this debate, and we are hoping to hear from as many people and organisations as possible. We would welcome submissions from anyone with an interest in this issue and will be holding public hearings in August.”
The lockout laws have been widely criticised as proof that NSW has turned into a ‘nanny state’. The Liberal government seems to think the solution to a problem is to crack down on strict laws that punish everyone else who aren’t part of the problem either.
The laws were also criticised for only benefiting the casino industry. Star Casino is in Darling Harbour, which is where the lockout zone ends. How convenient. The out-of-touch politicians didn’t account for the fact that people were going to find other ways to spend their weekends.
— The Project (@theprojecttv) May 29, 2019
Since going out in the city has become dead as fuck, nightlife has moved towards the Inner West, and more underground warehouse parties have been coming up. One partygoer said it was actually safer than a night out in the CBD or Kings Cross thanks to warehouse parties having a “no dickheads policy”.
However, now that public submissions are open, we can finally have a chance to bring back Sydney’s nightlife to how it once was. Whether your industry was affected by the lockout laws, or you think your weekend plans have kind of gone to shit, have your say here.
Featured image via Instagram @cocacolaau.