After a cross-party parliamentary committee review of the laws earlier in the year, Ms Berejiklian unveiled plans to drop the 1.30am lockout legislation in the CBD — but not Kings Cross where businesses have been hit the hardest.
“While we will await the committee’s report, I agree it’s time to enhance Sydney’s night-life,” Ms Berejiklian said in a statement to AAP on Sunday.
“Sydney is Australia’s only global city and we need our night-life to reflect that.”
The legislation was introduced in 2014 in a bid to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence after the one-punch deaths of Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie. Ms Berejiklian hopes to introduce changes to the contentious legislation by the end of the year.
The move has been criticised as “premature” by the Keep Sydney Safe campaign which represents emergency service workers in NSW.
The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research released research in August that suggested the laws reduced the number of assaults, but the benefit is diminishing over time. It also found non-domestic assaults dropped 53 per cent in Kings Cross and four per cent in the CBD since lockouts were introduced. But in the same period, assaults rose by 30 per cent at alternative nightspots accessible from the city
While the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has flagged the potential changes to the laws there has been no suggestion of exactly what changes will be made outside of the relaxation of the laws not to extend to Kings Cross. Whether that includes the Oxford Street precinct is not yet known. Other details such as actual closing times, alcohol sales restrictions and the types of venues (restaurant or bars) that are to benefit from the loosening of restrictions, has not yet been announced.
In an interview with 2GB on 9/9/2019 Mark Latham, appointed as one of the committee members complained that the whole process is a waste of time and money. The Berejiklian govt, announcing changes before the report is due to be published next week, has pre-empted a rollback of the lockout laws, but will consider the report’s recommendations.