It appears the Berejiklian state government are on a roll ditching laws that affect Sydney’s nightlife and drinking culture, and we’re not just talking about lockout laws.
After news that the lockout laws were set to be relaxed in Sydney’s central business district with strict curfews still in place for Kings Cross, we now await a forthcoming report of a government-led inquiry that outlines the recommendations for Sydney’s nightlife.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the committee’s recommendations may include scrapping rules that ban the sale of shots, doubles and pre-mixed drinks after midnight, as well as restrictions on serving drinks in glass containers.
Ms Berejiklian herself has publically stated her support for the relaxing of the lockout laws, and suggested her government will be guided to act based on the report’s findings.
The mastermind behind Sydney’s current war on music said that ‘things have changed in the last five years’ and that Kings Cross was ‘very different’ to the CBD and required different treatment.
The ‘no shots after midnight’ rule were introduced to both Kings Cross and the CBD in July 2014, months after the lockout and last drinks laws were rolled out despite widespread agreement that the government should not restrict the type of drink people can buy or when they can buy it.
The committee will recommend that the 1:30am lockout and 3am last drinks call should be abolished in the CBD, as well as in Sydney’s LGBTI hotspot; Oxford Street. Many committee members reportedly had the opinion that Oxford Street should not have been included in the lockout zone to begin with.
Other measures in the red light district such as mandatory ID scanning after 9pm have also been deemed unnecessary for every night of the week.
While apparently Ms Berejiklian is in agreement with the large majority of the population that view the lockout laws and other long-standing measures as unnecessarily strict, health lobbyists and doctors are of a different opinion. Many shared their support of the lockout laws and tougher drinking regulations and are not in favour of relaxing these laws.
Presumably in an attempt to subside these concerns shared by health professionals, Liberal upper house member Natalie Ward that chairs the committee stated that new measures to improve late-night party-goers will be proposed; such as the expansion of programs to help care for intoxicated persons inside and outside of licensed premises.
“We’re looking at the economic argument for why we’re missing out on $16 billion worth of potential employment, innovation and economic infrastructure, and we’d like to do something about that…but in a balanced way,” Ward said.
Despite the positive recommendations that the committee is set to offer, Kings Cross is left in the dark yet again. The committee will suggest another review in 12 months to decide if these same restrictions should also be lifted in Kings Cross.
“We can do interventions now that ensure those businesses thrive, I’m not quite sure why you’d need 12 months,” said Sydney Business Chamber boss Katherine O’Regan.
Ward remains adamant that the committee’s recommendations will help rejuvenate Sydney’s nightlife, boasting that:
“Sydney is our only truly global city and while Melbourne might think it’s in the race, it’s only the little brother.”
A bold claim to make following Time Out’s 2019 List of World’s Best Cities that saw Sydney drop to 39th place, while Melbourne sat comfortably in 2nd place following New York.
If you’re as exhausted with the Berejiklian state government as we are here at FIB, then you’ll be glad to hear our upcoming special feature length documentary After The Lockouts II: Glady’s War On Music is set to be released soon, a sequel to our renowned film After The Lockouts.
Take a look at the trailer down below:
Subscribe to FIB’s newsletter for your weekly dose of music, fashion and pop culture news!