The Brag Media
News February 9, 2021

Scrapping Kings Cross lockout laws is final hurdle to rebranding Sydney as 24-hour global city

Scrapping Kings Cross lockout laws is final hurdle to rebranding Sydney as 24-hour global city

The NSW Government’s ambitious plan to revive Sydney’s night-time economy and rebrand it as a 24-hour global city to draw tourism, investment and jobs has taken a major step forward.

Today it announced that it was lifting lockout laws in the Kings Cross precinct from March 8.

This will put the Cross in line with the CDB and Oxford Street whose restrictions were lifted in early 2020, and its venues can now open from beyond 1:30am, with last drinks at 3:30am.

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said: “Kings Cross has transformed considerably since these laws were introduced over six years ago.

“The precinct is now well positioned to continue to evolve into a vibrant lifestyle and cultural destination with a diverse mix of small bars, live music venues and restaurants.”

Tourism minister Stuart Ayres added: “This is an important step towards implementing our 24-hour Economy Strategy to ensure Kings Cross flourishes into a vibrant, diverse, inclusive and safe precinct as our city powers ahead with confidence.”

The mood has changed considerably from when the lockouts were introduced in 2014 by then-premier Barry O’Farrell.

There was a public backlash after teenagers Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie were killed in separate one-punch attacks in the Cross.

The live sector was not consulted, and anger grew as pedestrian traffic dropped by 30% in Kings Cross, falling from a Saturday peak of 5,590 per hour between 1am and 2am in 2010, to a Saturday peak of 3,888 between 12am and 1am in 2015, and a number of venues were forced to close.

In a tremendous show of solidarity, massive rallies were held by the NSW and national live sector, and Keep Sydney Open moved from being a lobby group to a political party to make the lockouts an election issue.

A NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) report from April 2015 showed a 26% reduction in assaults in the lockout area, and a 32% reduction in assaults in Kings Cross.

In 2019, a NSW parliamentary inquiry found the lockouts were costing the city $16 billion in economic activity.

The live sector also shifted its strategy to support a vision where the night-time economy was diversified and with less reliance on entertainment in nightclubs and venues which had a strong emphasis on alcohol intake.

In May 2020, the City of Sydney allocated $40,000 for independent think tank The Committee for Sydney to work with residents and the live sector to revive Kings Cross.

Today’s announcement sees blanket restrictions on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glass after midnight being scrapped, along with requirements for RSA marshals and CCTV.

But ID scanning systems, which require some venues to record patrons’ ID, will remain. Police presence will also continue to be high.

The new rules will be reviewed in 12 months.


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