By Stefanie Collins, editor b&c

In the wake of Sunday's successful rally organised by the Keep Sydney Open team, calls have been coming from the industry to keep up the momentum.

In the lead up to the review, which Premier Mike Baird has already flagged as basically redundant due to his being in favour of the lockout laws, more and more businesses have been making known their displeasure at the knock-on effects of the laws. 

According to Ben Carroll, co-owner of Applejack hospitality which operates five bars around Sydney, "Casino Mike" might be a little shocked at just how vocal the opposition to the laws is becoming.

“Yesterday was great to see and all the mass media coverage that it got,” says Carroll. “And to have families down there, taxi drivers down there along with kebab shop owners, newsagency owners, it was a real mix of not just young people, it was great. 

“The protest is a conversation starter. My friends in my networks that aren’t in the hospitality industry, they now understand what it is about. There was never really any information given out about the lockouts law initially and even in the industry there was never really much.”

The organisers of Sunday's rally have claimed that up to 15,000 people took part, although some media outlets have suggested smaller numbers. But there has been widespread coverage and Carroll believes that the industry is poised for further, more far-reaching action. 

“I think the industry is going to have to do something more drastic,” he says. “There is chat on industry forums saying, 'let’s all close for a week or a night'. It would be hard to get everyone to participate and it is the far extreme of drastic measures.”

He goes on to explain that while he doesn’t have the silver bullet the action from the organisers of the rally and petition needs to continue.

“We have to probably have another rally, the petitioning is great, and us keeping it front of mind over the next six months is going to be key. The pressure has to remain on the government so that they know how vocal we are and how much it means, not just to the industry, but to many other people as well."

The NSW lockout laws are currently being reviewed by former High Court judge Ian Callinan QC, who will publish the report into his findings in August.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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  1. This whole argument just shows how immature we are becoming as a society. Everyone blames everyone else. It’s not the Peremier’s fault, not the AHA, not the Night Clubs, not the Police or the Courts, not the industry or its suppliers….it’s the 1% of dickheads that can’t handle their grog. Why don’t the other 99% of you grow up, work together and address evryones issues. You have the numbers on your collective side.

  2. Thanks for the point of view, John. Alcohol-fuelled violence is a complex problem, beyond the intellectual horse-power of the liquor law policy makers in this State. For too long “lazy legislation” has been allowed to prevail. Just look at the so-called “temporary freeze” in the Liquor Act. It was introduced in 2009 for a 12 month period and here we are in 2016 and the freeze has been rolled over to 2017.
    The lockout and other restrictions introduced in January 2014 is “lazy legislation”. It does nothing to address the underlying causes of the problem, apart from emptying the Cross and Oxford Street of patrons by 10:30am, as reported by the owners of Applejack.
    The other elephant in the room is drugs. Take a look at the BOCSAR stats on meth offences. They are through the roof.
    Start thinking, Mike Baird and stop relying in the spin fed to you by your Department.

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