Sydney lockout laws to be scrapped in January

29th November, 2019 by Nicola Carruthers

Controversial lockout laws in Sydney will be overturned in January 2020 following a government review, which will mean extended trading hours for the city’s bars and drinks retailers.

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Drinkers can now stay out later in Sydney’s bars

The New South Wales (NSW) Government introduced Sydney’s ‘lockout’ laws in February 2014 following a number of alcohol-fuelled violent deaths and attacks in the city.

The rule enforced 1.30am as the last entry time to venues serving alcohol, and a strict no alcohol rule after 3am at registered bars, pubs and clubs in the Sydney Central Business District (CBD) entertainment precinct.

While research shows the stricter regulations have helped to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence, concerns were raised about the impact of the law on the city’s night-time economy.

According to Deloitte figures cited by the NSW Government in Sydney’s night time economy report, the city “may be foregoing AU$16 billion (US$10.8bn) of potential economic activity by not taking full advantage of the night-time economy”.

New changes will be introduced to the rules from 14 January 2020 after a detailed review of the Joint Select Committee’s recommendations.

Gladys Berejiklian, head of government of state for New South Wales, said: “Sydney has transformed dramatically over recent years, and we need to ensure we have a strong and vibrant night-time economy that reflects our position as Australia’s only truly global city.

“Following a detailed review of the Joint Select Committee’s recommendations, we will implement changes over summer to ensure Sydney has a thriving, safe and diverse night life that can be enjoyed by all.

“While the extended trading hours will provide a boost for the night-time economy, community safety will always be a focus.”

Removal of restrictions

The changes include the removal of the 1:30am last entry for all venues in the Sydney CBD, the removal of restrictions on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glasses after midnight, and the extension of ‘last drinks’ at venues with good records by 30 minutes to 3:30am.

In addition, bottle shops will benefit from extending opening hours across NSW until midnight from Monday to Saturday and a 11pm closing time on Sunday.

Small bars across the state will also be able to have a capacity of 120 patrons, instead of 100.

The Joint Select Committee consisted of members from across politics working in consultation with police and health authorities, taking feedback from community, and entertainment and live music stakeholders to develop the recommendations.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet added: “We are working to ensure the NSW economy grows and provides an improved standard of living for our citizens and a big part of this is stimulating growth in the night-time economy.

“The NSW Government’s changes will help drive investment, grow jobs and attract more businesses to the CBD.”

Stuart Ayres, minister for jobs, investment, tourism and western Sydney, also welcomed the decision, and said it was “time to embrace a 24-hour economy that creates jobs, fosters arts, culture, live performance and safety on our streets”.

The NSW Government will “monitor the impact” of the new rules, with a review planned to take place after 12 months.

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