May 30, 2019
Source: Daily Telegraph
Author: Danielle Le Messurier, Matthew Benns and Derrick Krusche
30 May, 2019
An inner-city Labor mayor who has been a staunch opponent of lockout laws will be one of the first to address a new committee being set up to review them.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s decision to form a group to look at reviving the night-time economy has been met with dire warnings from doctors that it will herald a return to bloody alcohol-fuelled violence if the lockout laws are relaxed.
But politicians from both major parties and industry groups want the laws, which ban new customers in the CBD and Kings Cross after 1.30am, to be softened to boost business on Sydney’s deserted night-time streets.
Inner West Council Mayor Darcy Byrne said: “I’m an opponent of the lockout laws, I think they have been poorly implemented and have had a terrible impact on Sydney’s reputation.”
He is suggesting a “first step to breathe new life into our night-time economy” would be to adopt a “good neighbour” policy that would force venues and residents to sit down and try to resolve noise and amenity complaints before bringing in lawyers.
However doctors have warned against any steps to ease the laws that were introduced in February 2014 after a string of fatal, alcohol-fuelled coward-punch killings.
“To wind them back now would be foolish,” Australian Medical Association NSW president Dr Kean-Seng Lim said.
“Time and time again people get complacent when health measures start to work well.”
Potts Point waitress Rebecca Soderstrom, 24, from Paper Bird restaurant, said that since the lockout laws were introduced the area was “not violent … I think it’s pretty safe”.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party leader Robert Borsak said he did not believe the committee would achieve anything, and yesterday reintroduced a bill to scrap the lockout laws.“Sydney is now basically Canberra with bad traffic. Gladys and the killjoys have killed night-life in Sydney,” he said.
“It’s now dead after dark and it doesn’t feel like a vibrant big city.”
Committee for Sydney advocacy director James Hulme said the laws “have inadvertently fuelled a perception that Sydney is closed at night both, from a domestic and global perspective.”