NSW Police and the hospitality industry are gearing up for the end of Sydney’s controversial lockout laws, which have today been officially lifted.
- The ABC understands NSW Police will increase patrols around licensed venues from tonight
- Several venues across Sydney are planning celebration parties this weekend to mark the end of the laws
- The laws led to a dramatic decrease in violence in Kings Cross
The Berejiklian Government last year announced several restrictions imposed on licensed venues would be scrapped across the city’s CBD.
The exception was in Kings Cross, which the State Government said would be up for review in 12 months.
The ABC understands police will increase patrols around licensed venues from tonight.
“The NSW Police remains committed to ensuring safety and security of the community in responding to alcohol-related crime,” a NSW Police spokesperson said.
From today, patrons can enter licensed venues in the CBD and Oxford Street after 1:30am.
Restrictions on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glass after midnight are gone and venues with “good records” will have their last drinks extended by half an hour to 3:30am.
Bottleshops across NSW can also stay open until midnight from Monday to Saturday, with an 11:00pm closing time on Sunday.
Some venues in central Sydney will host celebration parties tonight and this weekend to mark the end of the much-maligned legislation.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore declared on Twitter: “Sydney is open again”.
The laws were introduced in 2014 by then-premier Barry O’Farrell in a bid to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence.
They were sparked by the “coward-punch” deaths of Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie in Kings Cross.
Assaults in Kings Cross dropped by 53 per cent across a five-year period after the laws were introduced, according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR).
CBD assaults also dropped to 13 per cent over the first two and a half years, before levelling out to 4 per cent across the same five-year period.
However, many argued the drop in assaults correlated with a drop in patrons caused by the new nightlife rules.
Areas outside the lockout law boundaries saw an increase in violence, with a 30 per cent jump in assaults across Newtown, Double Bay, Bondi and Coogee.
The venue restrictions also wreaked havoc on the city’s nightlife, with a NSW parliamentary inquiry last year hearing about 270 venues were forced to shut down.
Analysis by Deloitte Access Economics found Sydney was missing out on $16 billion a year because its night-time economy was underdeveloped.
Tim Piccione, a pub manager in The Rocks, was worried the damage to Sydney’s reputation and hospitality industry was already done.
But he was nevertheless excited by the lockout laws being lifted.
“I think it’s definitely going to be a good thing to encourage people to come in and actually feel like they can stay out late,” he said.