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Sydney's Lockout Laws Will Finally Be Scrapped in the CBD

But they'll remain in place across Kings Cross.
By Samantha Teague
September 08, 2019
By Samantha Teague
September 08, 2019

Five years after they were first introduced to curb alcohol-fuelled violence, Sydney's lockout laws are set to be lifted in the CBD. They will, however, remain in place in the Kings Cross area.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has today announced plans to repeal the lockouts, telling The Daily Telegraph: "It's time to enhance Sydney's night-life. Sydney is Australia's only global city and we need our night-life to reflect that."

The current lockout area stretches from Darling Harbour to Kings Cross and from The Rocks to Campbell Street in Surry Hills. According to The Daily Telegraph, the laws will be repealed in the CBD, but not in Kings Cross. It's not yet clear exactly where the new boundaries will be.

Since the lockout laws were introduced in 2014, a reported 176 venues have closed, and a report by Deloitte Access Economics showed that the laws have contributed to NSW missing out on $16 billion in potential profits. A year-long parliamentary inquiry into the state of the Sydney's music and nightlife economy in 2018 also found that the industry was in "peril" due to the NSW Government's history of neglect, and lack of funding.

The CBD's new nightclub Pamela's will be able to extend its opening hours. Image by Kimberley Low.

In the past few years, there has been some relaxing of the laws. More than 20 venues have been granted half-hour live entertainment extensions, and Oxford Street has gone lockout-free for Mardi Gras the past two years. Earlier this year, Ms Berejiklian announced a review of the city's night-time economy by a ten-person parliamentary committee. The committee has considered close to 800 submissions from business owners and industry members and is set to release its findings on September 30 this year.

Despite this being only 22 days away, Ms Berejiklian has already begun to make moves to to repeal the lockouts. There's not an exact date set for the changing of legislation, but The Daily Telegraph has reported that it's expected to occur later this year.

While the CBD's nightlife and live music scene has struggled under the stifling legislation — and has seen institutions like The Basement close — the lifting of the lockout laws together with the City of Sydney's plans to introduce 24-hour trading to the CBD could mean big changes for the area. The repeal of the lockout laws would allow Sydneysiders to head into CBD bars, pubs and nightclubs after 1.30am — and those same venues to remain open after 3am — while the City of Sydney is hoping to encourage the 24 hour trading of unlicensed CBD businesses.

That's all we know for now. We'll update you as more specific details — and the findings from the parliamentary committee — are released later this month.

Top image: Kimberley Low

Published on September 08, 2019 by Samantha Teague
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