By Andrew Starke
Sydney’s Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, has committed her office to creating opportunities for the small bar sector.
Her support is likely to put her office at odds with the licensing freeze that will impact on pubs, bars, clubs, nightclubs and liquor stores in parts of Kings Cross, Darlinghurst and the CBD.
“We also need opportunities for small bars that support young creative talent, particularly musos,” she said. “Small bars provide an alternative to large-scale beer-barns filled with binge drinkers, and they help create a more civilised and diverse drinking culture.”
The Mayor contends that Sydney has approved more small bars in the first year of the new licensing regime than the first year after Melbourne updated its laws.
Ten small bars are operating in the city, with another 18 at various stages of development.
“We host seminars for people interested in opening a small bar, and support new laneway businesses through our Laneways Business Development Program,” said Moore. “The Liquor Amendment (Temporary Licence Freeze) Bill will allow us to take stock and develop long-term mechanisms that prevent community harm, while encouraging a civilised and flourishing entertainment industry.”
The Mayor wants the Sydney Liquor Taskforce, which reports to both her office and the Premier, to use this freeze to develop long-term action on the problems at hand.
“We need clear and enforced licensing obligations; effective dialogue with residents; adequate late night transport; joint operations involving police, council and the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing; benchmarks for noise and amenity standards; and planning measures to help councils control new licensed venues in high-risk areas.”