In 2014, the NSW State Government introduced the Liquor Amendment Act 2014 (NSW), otherwise known as the ‘lock-out laws’. These laws stipulated that venues in Sydney's CBD could not allow new patrons in after 1:30 AM, and sell alcohol after 3:00 AM. It has been a little over 4 years since the ‘lock-out laws’ were introduced, and they remain a contentious issue as the government strikes a balance between safety and a thriving nightlife.
These new laws were introduced after the public outcry that followed the death of 18 year old, Daniel Christie, who passed away due to injuries sustained from an alcohol-fuelled ‘one-punch’ assault in Kings Cross. The government was criticised for the lack of preventative measures in place, particularly in light of the death of Thomas Kelly, the subject of a similar incident a year earlier.
In December 2016, Premier Mike Baird announced a two year trial, which would introduce ‘relaxed conditions’, changing lockout from 1:30 AM to 2:00 AM, and last drinks from 3:00 AM to 3:30 AM for venues that offer live entertainment in Sydney’s CBD and Kings Cross.
Whilst these changes demonstrate ‘goodwill’ for struggling businesses, prominent lobbying group, Keep Sydney Open, argues that these changes will do nothing to reverse the harmful impact that lock-out laws have had on struggling businesses and the live music scene
Is Sydney better-off since the introduction of the lock-out laws?
The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Keep Sydney Open rally fights for the right to party'.
The Daily Telegraph, 'Four years from the lockout laws, what’s the state of Sydney night-life?'.
Concrete Playground, ‘How Sydney’s Lockout Laws have really, truly affect your Saturday night’.
The Huffington Post, ‘Sydney Lockout Laws Have Had a ‘Massive Effect’ on Community, Jobs'.
Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, 'Lockouts and Last Drinks'; SMH, 'Lockout laws a demonstrated effective weapon against alcohol abuse and violence'
Medical Journal of Australia, 'Presentations with alcohol-related serious injury to a major Sydney trauma hospital after 2014 changes to liquor laws'.
The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘The silent majority backs Sydney’s lockout laws’