The Keep Sydney Open Party has announced its candidates and manifesto as it vies for seats in the NSW Upper House in the state election taking place on Saturday, 23 March.

The candidates are all aged under 40, are high profile members of Sydney’s local Government, music and cultural interests and have combined backgrounds in music, large-scale events, as artists and performers.

The three candidates are Tyson Koh, who has spearheaded the Keep Sydney Open movement since the lockout laws were first introduced in 2014; Jess Miller who was elected to City of Sydney Council in 2016 and served as the city’s Deputy Lord Mayor from 2017-2018; Jesse Matheson who is the Director of Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and an advocate for LGBTQI+ issues.

Speaking about the impending election, Koh said: “The voters of NSW have seen first-hand what happens when Government reaches too far into the lives of private citizens. Our culture, our nightlife and our economy have suffered as a result. It’s time to change that for all of NSW.”

Some of the key Keep Sydney Open Party policies include:

  • Invest in Music & Culture: Invest $100m into contemporary music and performance over four years. Quadruple Victoria’s investment. Paid for by reducing over $1bn in tax subsidies for pokies.
  • End the Game of Mates: Close the loopholes in the NSW Lobbyist Code by broadening the legal definition of a ‘lobbyist’ to anyone lobbying for financial gain and ‘prohibited donors’ to include mining, not-for-profit gambling and companies involved in government contracts.
  • Repeal the Lockouts: Repeal the lockout laws and allow 24-hour trading for well-run venues.
  • Save Music Festivals: Repeal the Berejiklian Government’s new licensing regulations for festivals to take effect on 1st March that will decimate the festival industry worth $1.8bn.
  • Get Tough on Casinos: End special exemptions for casinos from three-strikes liquor licensing scheme and the violent venues list. Use pokies tax revenue to fund gambling addiction support services.

Miller said: “The community and business are fed-up with opaque, reactionary and sledgehammer approach to policy. We represent a grassroots movement willing to fight for more balance, openness, transparency and vitality in NSW – from lockouts, to toll roads, stadiums to public housing – enough is enough.”

The Night Time Industries Association has welcomed the announcement, with Chair Michael Rodrigues telling TheShout: “”The NTIA welcomes public debate on the best policies for NSW’s night time economy. Tyson Koh and Jess Miller have been long time campaigners on some of the core challenges related to a healthy and vibrant night time economy.

“This timely announcement recognises that there is increased public attention around revitalising our nightlife and in time, recouping the $16bn each year NSW is foregoing in lost night time economy revenue, as identified by Deloitte in their recent report.”

Matheson added: “NSW has a rich history of cultural events and freedom of artistic and individual expression. The Government has placed this under threat which is unacceptable. We want a state with thriving cultural industries and ample opportunities now and in the future.”

Full details on the party’s policies and how you can help with donations, are available on the Keep Sydney Open Party’s website.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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