New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has on Thursday announced that the majority of Sydney’s lockout laws will be wound back, commencing Tuesday 14 January 2020.

The rollback of legislation will mean that trading hours will eb extended for licensed venues and bottleshops within the Sydney CBD precinct, and that after-midnight drink regulations will be relaxed.

The Premier stated that the lockout initiative introduced in 2014 had made Sydney safer, but that it was time for a change in the CBD.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the initiatives introduced five years ago had undoubtedly made Sydney safer, but now was the right time for change in the CBD, particularly with light rail services commencing soon.

“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,” Berejiklian said.

“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.”

The following changes will occur from 14 January 2020:

  • Remove 1.30am last entry for all venues in the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct, including those on Oxford Street.
  • Remove restrictions on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glass after midnight in this precinct.
  • Extend ‘last drinks’ at venues with good records in this precinct by 30 minutes.
  • Extend bottle shop opening hours across NSW until midnight from Monday to Saturday, with 11pm closing on Sunday.
  • Increase small bar patron capacity from 100 to 120 across NSW.
Kings Cross unchanged

In keeping with the Joint Select Committee’s recommendations, the lockout regulation will still be in effect within the Kings Cross precinct. However, the Government will conduct a review of this new arrangement in twelve months, with Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres responsible for the implementation and review of the Government response.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the changes would stimulate the economy and attract more businesses into the CBD.

“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.”

AHA NSW has welcomed the wind-back of the legislation from Sydney’s CBD, with CEO John Whelan saying the association had always strongly objected to the blanket measures.

“We always said the lockout laws would strangle Sydney’s night-life and that is exactly what has happened over the last five years.

“We welcome their removal and now ask all sides of politics to come together to work to re-invigorate the city’s night-life and return Sydney to its status as Australia’s only global city.”

However Whelan said that while the outcomes were mainly positive, the AHA was disappointed the Government has not implemented the removal of the CBD last drinks measures recommended by the Committee.

“We look forward to the review in 12 months and remain committed to working with Government and all stakeholders to help create a safe and vibrant Sydney and King’s Cross.”

The Night Time Industries Association has also welcomed the wind-back as an opening measure to get Sydney’s night-time economy back to a global-city status.

“The Joint Select Committee report on Night Time Economy prompted these reforms and it is fantastic to see the key recommendations are supported in today’s announcement – its a great start!” stated NTIA chair, Michael Rodriguez.

“Turning Sydney’s nightlife back on, isn’t as simple as flicking a switch – we’ll be taking our time to ensure the industry does its part to get Sydney back on track in a considered way – and we, in particular, welcome the establishment of an Industry Advisory Group where we hope to be able to play a part in bringing a range of night-time voices to help shape the future of Sydney’s nightlife,”.

“As Mr Ayers is also the minister for Western Sydney we are excited by the opportunity to rebuild Sydney’s night-time economy – not just in the inner city – but also in a manner shaped by and welcoming to greater Sydney.”

More industry reaction will follow on TheShout in coming days.

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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