News October 5, 2018

NSW’s deputy premier is pushing for an end to Sydney’s lockout laws

NSW’s deputy premier is pushing for an end to Sydney’s lockout laws

A report from 9NEWS last night has Sydneysiders in a tizzy over possible plans to relax the controversial lockout laws which have strangled the city’s nightlife.

Channel 9’s report revealed that deputy premier John Barilaro is pushing cabinet to scrap the 1:30 am lockout time by the end of this year. He reportedly has support from at least eight cabinet ministers.

9NEWs understands that the plan to scrap the lockouts – proposed to coincide with the light rail construction barricade removal on George street – was briefly mentioned in cabinet last month but never discussed.

Under the proposal, any changes to the lockout laws would not extend to Kings Cross.

Keep Sydney Open’s organiser Tyson Koh told news.com.au that Thursday’s report was welcomed by the group, who have spent more than four years campaigning to save Sydney’s crippled nightlife.

“It’s going to be an absolute godsend for businesses, musicians, creatives and tourists and young people across the city,” Koh said.

“Unfortunately, some businesses didn’t make it and have been forced to close their doors. Several more are still doing it tough and barely hanging on.”

In response to the news that any changes to the lockout laws would exclude Kings Cross, Koh lamented that it’s “very disappointing”.

“I’m not sure if anyone [from the government] has walked through Kings Cross lately but it’s a completely different place. It’s a ghost town.

“Why it would left out of this proposal is beyond me. It beggars belief.”

The Australian Hotels Association (AHA), who have been pushing for the laws to be relaxed since they were instated in 2014, have also welcomed the news.

AHA’s John Green told Nine: “Venues that do nothing wrong should not be blanketed with draconian measures and it’s about time we looked at that.”

Lord mayor Clover Moore also supports reversing the controversial lockouts.

But The Last Drinks group, comprised of emergency service workers and police, have had the opposite reaction, calling a reversal of the laws “complete madness”.

“Any politician who weakens these restrictions will have blood on their hands. It’s that simple,” campaign spokesperson Dr Tony Sara said.

“These modest alcohol restrictions have spared thousands of young people from serious and fatal injuries.”

Since January last year, Sydney’s live music venues in the lockout zones were granted a 30-minute extension, while bottle shops around NSW had their trading time extended from 10 pm to 11 pm.

According to 9NEWS’ sources, the final call would have to be up to premier Gladys Berejiklian, who has recently come under fire for her harsh stance against pill testing and move to ban electronic music festival Defqon.1 following two deaths last month.

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