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FOOD & DRINK

Hugos Threatens to Take NSW Government to Court Over Lockouts

Kings Cross's longtime institution owner and 70 of its employees are considering class action suit to test the controversial laws.
By Tom Clift
August 06, 2015
  shares

Hugos Threatens to Take NSW Government to Court Over Lockouts

Kings Cross's longtime institution owner and 70 of its employees are considering class action suit to test the controversial laws.
By Tom Clift
August 06, 2015
  shares

Sydney's controversial lockout laws look set to undergo another major test, after the owner and staff of Hugos Lounge in Kings Cross today announced they are considering bringing legal action against the NSW government in the wake of the venue's closure.

The longtime Kings Cross institution revealed last week that it would be ceasing operation after suffering a 60 percent drop in revenue since 2012. Unsurprisingly, owner Dave Evans cited new licensing laws and the recent 1.30am lockout as the reason for his business' decline, telling The Daily Telegraph that the "well-intentioned but ill-informed laws" meant that "good, safe operators can't sustain their business."

Owens will be joined by 70 of his former employees in a proposed class action lawsuit, the details of which will be revealed later today.

In its heyday, Hugos reportedly drew in more than 6000 patrons a week, but the business has been crippled in recent times by an 80 percent drop in patronage. Owens believe revellers have abandoned Kings Cross in favour of areas such as Newtown, where the lockouts do not apply — although in a bitter twist, several venues in that suburb have recent agreed to voluntary enforce the laws in an attempt to curb a sharp uptick in drunken violence.

The tough lockout laws have been credited with reducing assaults in Kings Cross by one third, although detractors believe they have simply pushed such incidents into the surrounding suburbs. Incidents of drunken violence doubled in Pyrmont in the 12 months following the law's introduction, and increased by two-thirds in Newtown.

Meanwhile, Hugos is far from the first Kings Cross venue to shut its doors since the lockouts came into force. Soho, Goldfish, The Backroom and the Trademark Hotel have all ceased operation, as have Flinders Hotel and The Exchange in neighbouring Darlinghurst.

The lockout laws are due to be reviewed in February 2016.

Via The Sydney Morning Herald and The Daily Telegraph.

Published on August 06, 2015 by Tom Clift

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