It has been an age since the streets of Sydney were vibrant and full of life during the wee hours of the weekend mornings. That could all be about to change as NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has stated that now is the time to revisit the controversial lockout laws.
This moment has been building significantly in the past few years, with the increase in demand for the return of Sydney’s old nightlife growing exponentially.
In 2018, FIB produced a special feature film titled, AFTER THE LOCKOUTS that explores the many devastating effects that the lockout laws have had on the night culture and overall vibrancy of Sydney. Now, with the Keep Sydney Open movement and the pressure from the people, the lockout laws have been propelled to the front of the political agenda.
Due to a push to dismiss the law from the famous Shooters, Fishers and Farmers and (everyone’s favourite colour) the Greens, the move to set up a cross-party committee to examine, “take stock” and rethink the laws has begun. *Loud clapping from the audience*
“After five years of operation, it makes sense for us to now take stock and examine whether any further changes should be made,” Ms Berejiklian said.
This new committee will be comprised of five members of the lower house, including three government members and at least one crossbench member, as well as five members of the upper house, including two government members and at least two crossbench members. It will be chaired by a government member and will report to Parliament by September 30.
The lockout laws were introduced in 2014 and for good reason; to combat the rise of violent, alcohol-related incidents happening in the city. However, the laws, whilst according to the Premier have decreased the number of non-domestic violent assaults in Sydney’s CBD and Kings Cross, they have also been harmful to bars, pubs, clubs and everything else that was once a part of Sydney’s former night-life.
Shooters’ MP, Robert Borsak, said on Tuesday that they, “…just want to get Sydney going again and revitalise the nightlife. If there is a problem with violence and policing, then fix that, but don’t make venues close.”
The laws have certainly been under pressure since they were implemented and Ms Berejiklian said there has been a number of reviews into Sydney’s night-time economy, including a review of the liquor laws by former High Court judge Ian Callinan, QC. Following his review, the laws were relaxed by 30 minutes, resulting in 2am lockouts and 3.30am last drinks in venues with live entertainment. A step in the right direction for Sydney’s night life, but this new committee plans to go even further.
It will examine how to “maintain and enhance” community safety and health outcomes as well as ensuring all “existing regulatory arrangements in relation to individuals, businesses
and other stakeholders, including Sydney’s lockout laws, remain appropriately balanced”.
That’s all the people want – safety AND fun. Luckily, there are a growing number of politicians joining the ranks who are listening to the people, and fingers crossed that this new committee makes changes to better this great city of ours.
Check out FIB’s feature film and keep an eye out for our upcoming film, After the Lockouts – Gladys’ War on Music.
What are your thoughts on the lockout laws and this recent news of their review? Leave us a comment below!