The controversial Lockout Laws, which were first introduced in 2014 by the O’Farrell Liberal Government are officially set to be abolished on the 14th of January next year.
This week, the Liberal Government finally revealed that the Lockout laws would be removed next year from all areas in Sydney’s CBD except Kings Cross. This new legislation comes after repeated public demand for the laws to be removed, with tens of thousands of people rallying and signing petitions over the last six years.
When announcing their removal, Premier Berijiklian explained that:
“Sydney has transformed dramatically over recent years, and we need to ensure we have a strong and vibrant night-time economy that reflects our position as Australia’s only truly Global City.”
The lockout laws were initially a response to the alcohol fuelled deaths of Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie in 2014. The Liberal Government’s knee-jerk reaction to such a public tragedy failed to consider the long term effects of situational crime prevention. Whilst the laws were an attempt to control and reduce alcohol related crime in Sydney’s CBD, Kings Cross and Darlinghurst areas, its impacts on Sydney’s nightlife, music-life and economy has been unprecedentedly harmful.
The Government’s form of situational crime prevention reduced violence in Sydney’s CBD, but merely displaced the crime onto other areas. The figures released by the Bureau of Crime, Statistics and Research revealed that there had been a dramatic increase in violence (approximately 20 percent) bordering the lockout zone, including Pyrmont, Newtown, Bondi and Double Bay. These statistics highlight the limited effectiveness of blanket laws on certain areas, and call for more successful crime prevention strategies.
Next year, on January the 14th, the Lockout laws will be removed from all areas except Kings Cross.
These are the highlights from the new legislation:
-Entry after 1.30am for all licensed venues in Sydney’s CBD has been reinstated, and ‘last drink’ calls have been extended by 30 minutes (but only for venues with ‘good records’).
-There are no longer restrictions on serving drinks in glasses after midnight and small bar patron capacity has been increased from 100 to 120 people.
-Bottle Shops can also be open until midnight from Mondays to Saturdays, but must close at 11pm on Sundays.
The exclusion of Kings Cross in these new updates has ambiguous reasons. It could be because of its reputation, but it seems the commercial success of the area may be the underlying reason. The prohibitions still enforced in the area allows it to become advantageously commercial with its booming development of high rise apartments, and its profitable location on the Harbour.
Whilst this is a step forward for the reinvigoration of Sydney’s nightlife and music-life, there are still resounding hesitations about when this will occur, especially after such a downfall.
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