Boost for Sydney’s nightlife with lockout laws scrapped from 2020

Sydney’s unpopular lockout laws are set to be scrapped from January 14.

Introduced by then-premier Mike Baird in 2014, the controversial laws were a response to alcohol-fuelled violence that led to the one-punch deaths of Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie. But the side effects of the ban have seen Sydney become globally derided as city with no nightlife, with more than 170 venues closing since the laws were enacted.

“Following a detailed review of the Joint Select Committee’s recommendations, we will implement changes over summer to ensure Sydney has a thriving, safe and diverse night life that can be enjoyed by all,” said NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

“While the extended trading hours will provide a boost for the night-time economy, community safety will always be a focus.”

The Premier will move to lift the 1.30am lockouts in the CBD entertainment district but the law will remain in place for Kings Cross, as it had “not yet sufficiently changed”, according to a parliamentary report by the Joint Select Committee released in September. This will be reviewed again in 12 months.

Among the changes are the removal of 1.30am last entry for all venues in the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct, including those on Oxford Street; removing restrictions on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glass after midnight in this precinct and increasing small bar patron capacity from 100 to 120 across the state.

“It’s time to embrace a 24 hour economy that creates jobs, fosters arts, culture, live performance and safety on our streets,” said Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres.

“You don’t have to trade safety for liveability but we all need to take responsibility for making Sydney the best it can be.

“Sydney is Australia’s number one tourism destination, with the world’s most iconic harbour, scenic beaches, world-class transport, and a vibrant arts and culture scene.”