Yesterday it was announced that Sydney’s lockout laws will be lifted on January 14 2020, after being in place for five years.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the news on Thursday that the controversial laws brought into effect in 2014, would be relaxed across the city with the exception of Kings Cross.
As a result, last drinks will now be implemented at 3:30am – a 30-minute extension – restrictions will be removed on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glass after midnight, and battleship opening hours will extend to midnight Monday to Saturday and 11pm on Sunday .
Speaking with the Kyle and Jackie O show this morning, Gladys Berejiklian told us that while safety was her governments top priority, it’s definitely time to relax the laws a little.
“We appreciate community views on this issue. You know safety always has to come first but we think we’ve matured a lot in 5 years and it’s time now to lift them,” Gladys told us.
“We’re hoping everyone from the 14th of January will continue to be responsible because at the end of the day you can have all the rules in place but it’s up to people just being responsible and being respectful to each other really.”
Of course, the laws will not be relaxed in one area in particular – the former notorious party scene of Kings Cross.
Gladys explained why the laws won’t change in this one area, but also told us that they will review this in about a year.
“The issue there was of course we had the tragic deaths in that precinct but also that area has a very high concentration of licensed venues in very close proximity to each other,” she continued.
“That’s what caused the horrible problems we had five years ago because there were too many people on the street at the one time.”
The Premier told us that venues are much more spread out in the CBD making it a safer location to test relaxing the lockout laws.
“In the CBD obviously the venues are spread out more and we’ve also got better transport… Unfortunately a lot of violence would escalate while people were waiting in queues on the street with some of the others walking past and that was the problem. Those challenges aren’t there anymore.”
“It’s just the Kings Cross precinct and we’ll see how we go in 12 months time in terms of what the future of Kings Cross is in relation to the laws but we feel it’s best to keep them as they are,” she added.
A parliamentary committee report, released on September 30, said the Kings Cross party precinct is “not yet sufficiently changed” to warrant the removal of lockout laws, and the issue should be revisited in 12 months.
The report found more work was required in Kings Cross to ensure safety, with the district requiring a “specific, nuanced approach”.
It said the repeal of lockout laws in Kings Cross, without improvements to lighting, street layout and venue density, would prompt a return to excessive alcohol consumption and violence.