Will the nighttime committee report make Sydney a global city again?
The live sector responded with enthusiasm when NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that lockout laws could be lifted by year’s end.
Live music reps had always expressed the hope that it was not too late to revive Sydney as a global city with a flourishing nighttime scene.
Some venue owners though privately expressed to TMN their concerns that special provisions were needed for the electronic dance music and LGBTI+ sectors – the two most badly hit.
This could change after the Joint Select Committee on Sydney’s Night Time Economy issues its report and recommendations to the government by the end of September.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the report’s outcome will in the short term relax current restrictions on double shots and pre-mixed drinks after 12am, and the use of glass containers.
It will also recommend restrictions be lifted in the LGBTI+ mecca of Oxford Street and, following a review in 12 months, in Kings Cross as well.
Mandatory ID scanning after 9pm on weekdays – which aggravated venue owners as they had to hire extra security to operate the machines even on quiet nights – could also be scrapped.
A draft of the report was privately circulated to members on the weekend.
According to the SMH, recommendations will include new initiatives to put drunken revellers in safety, and a new super-body based on the Melbourne Licensees Forum.
Set up 25 years ago, the Forum played an instrumental role in why Melbourne’s nighttime scene is buoyant and a tourist attraction, and its current status as the country’s live music capital.
Its diverse membership – venue operators, through the Australian Hotels Association and the Australian Venues Association, police, firefighters, councillors and gambling and liquor regulators – meet regularly and discuss initiatives and issues as safety, harm, patron behaviour and venue management practices before they become issues and fixed before they become of serious concern.
Premier Berejiklian has said that she will take on board most, or all, of the committee’s recommendations as it’s become obvious that the lockout laws are well past their use-by date.