Come March 8th, the remaining scraps of the controversial Sydney lockout laws will be removed in Kings Cross, as NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian pushes forth with her stated goal of revitalising Sydney’s “vibrant night-time economy”.
It’s no secret that the city’s lockout laws, which were first introduced in 2014 in response to alcohol-fuelled violence and the death of two teenagers, have had a debilitating, negative impact on the way Sydney’s hospitality scene operates. March 8th marks the first time since that year that the entire city is finally freed from the restrictions.
The Sydney lockout laws were only eased in the CBD and Oxford Street in January of last year, just a few weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic start to become apparent, but they remained in Kings Cross on the advice of various health authorities and police.
The central choke-point of the lockout laws, that pubs, bars and nightclubs can’t accept new patrons after 1:30 AM, will be lifted alongside other rules. Venues will now no longer have to call “last drinks” until 3:30 AM, and restrictions on cheap cocktails and the use of glasses after midnight will no longer apply.
Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres and Berejiklian made the announcement earlier today, stating that Kings Cross was “now well-positioned to continue to evolve into a vibrant lifestyle and cultural destinations with a diverse mix of small bars, live music venues, and restaurants”.
Alongside the announcement comes the official appointment of Time Out Australia MD Michael Rodrigues as Sydney’s ‘night mayor’ – a newly created position designed to help turn the city into a 24-hour economy.
In 2019, a parliamentary inquiry revealed that the NSW Government could be missing out of $16 billion in economic activity because of the Sydney lockout laws. As such, this final step towards eradicating such a mismanaged and harmful set of rules is a profound triumph for Sydney’s once rich and vibrant nightlife.
The forthcoming changes to the Sydney lockout laws will be reviewed again after 12 months.
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