The news is now breaking that NSW Government has announced the state’s controversial lockout laws will be lifted in Sydney’s CBD and Oxford Street from January 14.
However, the laws will remain in place in Kings Cross.
The changes include so far…
Removing 1.30am last entry for all licensed venues in the Sydney CBD, including Oxford Street
Extending last drinks by 30 minutes at venues with “good records”
Removing restrictions on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glass after midnight
Extending bottle shop opening hours across NSW until midnight from Monday to Saturday, with an 11pm closing time on Sunday
Increasing small bar patron capacity from 100 to 120 across NSW
Sydney’s lockout laws were introduced in 2014 by then-Premier Barry O’Farrell in a bid to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence.
They were sparked by the two “coward-punch” deaths of Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie in Kings Cross.
In 2014 changes prevented people from entering a venue in an entertainment precinct after 1:30am and mandated last drinks at 3am.
But opponents of the laws argued they hurt Sydney’s nightlife, and led to the closures of licensed premises.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she supported the reinvigoration of Sydney’s entertainment districts, but that the focus should remain on community safety.
“Sydney has transformed dramatically over recent years, and we need to ensure we have a strong and vibrant night-time economy that reflects our position as Australia’s only truly global city,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Ms Berejiklian said the introduction of more public transport — including the soon-to-be-completed light rail project — would make after-dark movement through the city safer and easier.
The lockout laws were probed by a NSW Parliament Joint Select Committee on Sydney’s Night Time Economy this year.
The committee, comprised of politicians, police and health authorities, recommended the laws be scrapped everywhere but Kings Cross.
St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst described the changes as “incredibly disappointing” in a submission to the committee.
The submission described a “conveyor belt of carnage” in the Emergency Room of the hospital before the laws were introduced.
The hospital said it had saved $500,000 in medical costs as a result of the legislation.
Lockout measures introduced to nearby Newcastle in 2008, combined with a curfew, resulted in a 36 per cent drop in assaults.
However many argued the drop in assaults correlated with a drop in patrons which was caused by the strict nightlife rules.