\ Arguments start over review to soften Sydney’s contentious lockout rules – Committee For Sydney

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Arguments start over review to soften Sydney’s contentious lockout rules

May 30, 2019

Source: Daily Telegraph
Author: Danielle Le Messurier, Edward Boyd

30 May, 2019

A review of Sydney’s lockout laws has divided the city with some groups embracing it as “long overdue” while others warn winding them back will lead to more incidents of alcohol-fuelled violence.

The state government has tasked a cross parliamentary committee with reviving Sydney’s night-time economy five years after the introduction of the alcohol laws which ban new customers after 1.30am.

Independent MP for Sydney Alex Greenwich, who confirmed he would be on the committee, said he supported the relaxation of lockout laws for safe and well-run venues.

“But we don’t want to go back to the situation we had in the Cross where you had 24/7 licensed venues all next to each other creating lots of negative social impacts,” Mr Greenwich said.

Labor’s night-time economy spokesman John Graham will also be on the committee and he said he was looking forward to reaching an “evidence-based decision”.

Meanwhile the Nationals will be represented on the panel by Geoff Provest, the member for Tweed.

NSW upper house member Mark Latham said he supports easing the lockout laws and is keen to join the committee.

Night Time Industries Association chair Michael Rodrigues welcomed the review and hopes it will lessen the opportunity cost to Sydney’s night-time economy, which is worth $16 billion annually.

“It’s not about the city running 24 hours, it’s about having the choice for things to be open in an amount that people want to use them,” he said.

Committee for Sydney director of advocacy James Hulme urged the committee to look beyond licensing issues and encourage more late night transport and after-dark entertainment.

Sydney Business Chamber director of policy Chris Lamont said the lockout laws have had a “negative impact on the vibrancy of our city”.

But Last Drinks campaign spokesman Dr Tony Sara argued the legislation has been very successful and should not be changed.

He calculates that since the restrictions were introduced in 2014, 360 people have been spared serious injuries, 75 head injuries have been prevented, and about 1800 assaults have not eventuated.

“We don’t want to get to the tipping point where the swill palaces of the past come back again,” Dr Sara said.

Sydney’s lockout laws will be reviewed, as pressure mounts on the New South Wales government to…

St Vincent’s Hospital director of trauma professor Anthony Grabs said staff were disappointed the government could wind back the laws.

“The longer you extend alcohol trading hours and the more accessible you make alcohol … the more you increase the number of alcohol-related assaults and other injuries,” he said.

Police Association of NSW president Tony King said there are already about 50 assaults on NSW police officers per week and “relaxing these laws will do little to alleviate that”.

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