Back in 2014, a new law was implemented in Sydney in order to combat the rise of alcohol related violence, mainly in CBD and Kings Cross. The laws restricted liquor stores from selling booze past 10pm and enforced a 1:30am lockout. That ban has now been given a 12 month extension and citizens of the city are not pleased with the new ruling.
In order to respond to public outcry, New South Wales Premier Mike Baird took to Facebook to outline how the lockout laws have been effective. "Let’s start with a statistic about Sydney’s nightlife that matters: alcohol related assaults have decreased by 42.2 per cent in the CBD since we introduced the 'lock-out laws'," states Baird. He added that those numbers are down 60% in Kings Cross.
Baird would go on to explain how the lockout laws have produced positive reform in the local community, but the laws will still be reviewed. He explained that "over the coming months a detailed review into the effects of the lock-out laws will be undertaken... but as I've said before, it is going to take a lot for me to change my mind on a policy that is so clearly improving this city."
The floodgates had been opened and the comments began to pour in, many of which expressed their distaste for the lockout laws. Keep Sydney Open, a community of local venues and citizens who aim to fight the lockout, were amongst the thousands that chimed in.
"Unfortunately, you are touting a curfew as the the only way to achieve a reduction in anti-social behaviour," they wrote. "We know from studying other cities that you can maintain social and economic activity while reducing assaults. Getting rid of people from entertainment precincts is 'cheating' a solution. A 42% drop in assaults is pathetic when measured against the harm done to jobs, business, the live music scene and freedom."
Nina Las Vegas also responded to Baird's comment explaining her thoughts on the matter. She says, "as a Kings Cross resident, I feel unsafe to walk home as there is literally NO ONE around, including police officers. As a nightclub DJ and promoter, I can't work within the lockout zones and am continually explaining to international visitors WHY our city is no longer somewhere you would want to perform. I've seen too many businesses close, empty cabs, lost night shifts and closed venues to believe that Sydney is 'more vibrant than ever.' It's heartbreaking."
The concern for the lockout laws is overwhelming and judging from the comments on Baird's post, most of the local community is against the extension. Baird did say he would be reviewing the laws and many are hoping their will be changes made, but that does not seem likely.
[Photo by DAVID ILIFF]