By Andy Young
Troy Grant, the New South Wales Acting Premier has said he would support changes to the 10pm closure of liquor stores and the state’s lockout laws.
The lockout legislation is currently being reviewed by former High Court judge the Hon. Ian Callinan AC QC, who is expected to present his findings next month. The laws ban the sale of takeaway alcohol after 10pm across the state and also lock patrons out of pubs at 1.30am, with last drinks at 3am in the central Sydney entertainment precinct.
Grant told News Limited that he would back changes to the laws, saying it was “hard to see where the justification was for the 10pm bottle shop closures in the first place.”
He also expressed his support for changes to the lockout laws, which contradicts the position taken by Premier Mike Baird. In February Baird, who is currently spending the week with troubled youth in the Northern Territory, came under fire after he said of the lockouts and Callinan Review “it is going to take a lot for me to change my mind on a policy that is so clearly improving this city”.
Grant said that he would support changes to the lockout, advocating removing the 1.30am lockout, but keeping the 3am last drinks law in place.
He told News Limited: “Every bit of evidence I’ve seen or heard about, even in my previous experience with liquor accord arrangements, it’s not the lockouts that have the greatest impact, it’s the last drinks.
“If Callinan recommends pushing the lockouts back, I think it’s something we absolutely should do. If you’re trying to control the quantity of alcohol people consume, last drinks is most effective.”
Liquor Stores Association NSW executive director, Michael Waters, told TheShout: “The Association and our members concur with the deputy premier, in questioning why the state-wide 10pm closure was introduced in the first place, and we look forward to the outcome of the Callinan Review and to continuing our on-going discussions with Troy Grant and his office.
“Some of our members have been significantly impacted since the introduction of this measure two-and-a-half years ago, so we are hopeful that common sense will prevail.”