NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said Sydney’s controversial lockout laws should be rolled back except for Kings Cross.
The CBD entertainment district, which includes Oxford Street, are expected to see the 1:30am lockouts lifted, in an effort to boost the night time economy.
“It’s time to enhance Sydney’s night-life … we need to step it up,” Berejiklian said.
“Sydney is Australia’s only global city and we need our night-life to reflect that.”
Berejiklian said she would not support any changes to restrictions in Kings Cross which were introduced in 2014 after the coward-punch deaths of Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie.
The announcement comes ahead of a report due to be released in coming weeks by a joint parliamentary committee into Sydney’s night-time economy.
Berejiklian said she will consult with her colleagues before a final decision is made.
“I’m more than happy to relax or even repeal the laws depending on the committee’s findings … but [they] have demonstrated we need to find a better balance,” Berejiklian said.
While the news was greeted with relief from the hospitality sector, the medical community has warned the government is “prioritising a particular business over public health”.
Australian Medical Association president Dr Kean-Seng Lim said it was a “poor” choice to roll back the laws.
Speaking to the ABC, St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst said the announcement was “incredibly disappointing” and taking things back to the “bad old days”.
“We don’t believe the answer to reinvigorating Sydney’s night-life is turning the beer taps on 24/7,” hospital spokesperson David Faktor said.
“We need to be a better society than that.”