By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier

Many pubs and clubs face possible closure as a result of the new Sydney lockout measures that came into effect this week, according to a hospitality industry legal expert.

Sylvester & Browne Solicitors’ David Sylvester told TheShout that in recent weeks he had spoken extensively with owners of pubs and clubs that lie both within and outside the boundary of the affected precinct.

“Many of the smaller hotels estimate that their turnover is likely to reduce by as much as $20,000 to $40,000 per week – that’s $1 to 2 million per year,” Sylvester said.

“These numbers will very likely result in forced closures due to non-viability.”

Sylvester, who has previously declared the O'Farrell Government measures doomed to failure, said the new laws had been a hot topic of discussion in legal circles, including the recent Public Defenders Criminal Law Conference in Sydney. 

“Nearly everyone I spoke to had an opinion regarding the changes to the Liquor Act and Regulations, and the common theme was that the new laws won't do anything to effectively reduce alcohol or drug-related violence,” he said. 

AHA NSW CEO Paul Nicolaou told TheShout that while the association shares the same sense of community outrage over acts of random street violence, lockouts have already been proven to fail elsewhere.

“We agree something needs to be done, but we don’t agree that mandatory 1.30am lockouts will stop people being bashed on the streets by thugs at 9.00pm and 10.00pm,” Nicolaou said.

“Given the only studies of lockouts in Melbourne and Fortitude Valley Qld show they did not work, we remain cynical about the success in a global city such as Sydney.”

Introduced by the Brumby Government in 2008, the Melbourne lock-outs were dropped after just three months, with independent research finding assaults and ambulance requirements actually increased between 8pm and 4am.  

The Shout Team

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

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