The state’s leading industry associations and Hoteliers have had a mixed reaction to the proposed NSW liquor law changes.
The Australian Hotels Association NSW said it would be examining the details of the policies over coming days and discussing the implications with its members.
“The organisation wholeheartedly welcomes tougher sentencing for thugs and official recognition of the role drugs play in night-time violence,” the association said.
“However, we remain sceptical about the effectiveness of lockouts across the Sydney CBD area and ‘last drinks’ at 3:00am – the time of the taxi changeover.
“We do not believe tens of thousands of people will stay in licensed premises past 3:00am once alcohol is no longer served but will instead be out on the streets looking for a way home – the Government will need to address this new issue.
“The lockouts and closures in the Sydney CBD will also have an undeniable impact on the night-time economy – penalising businesses that are well run and have had nothing to do with the recent violence,” the AHA said.
Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes (pictured) owner of over a dozen leading venues and the Establishment boutique hotel, said he “strongly welcomes and commends the Premier for these tough measures to combat drug and alcohol-fuelled violence”.
“Without doubt, these measures will create a safer environment for all,” he told HM’s sister website TheShout.
The Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) also welcomed the reforms, saying they will help Sydney “maintain its reputation as a safe and welcoming destination while preserving its vibrancy as a global city”.
TTF Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the reforms take into account the needs of the tourism industry.
“The reforms announced today by Premier Barry O’Farrell seek to balance improving safety with ensuring that Sydney remains an attractive destination for visitors from around the world,” Morrison said.
“Sydney has an international reputation as a friendly, safe and welcoming city and these measures will ensure the city retains that positive image at the same time as ensuring that visitors’ needs can still be catered for.
“As a global city, it’s vital that Sydney has a vibrant night-time economy which offers visitors a range of entertainment and dining options.
“The decision to exempt restaurants, tourist accommodation providers and small bars from the reforms means that Sydney can continue to meet the expectations of domestic and international visitors.
“The proposed reforms also recognise The Star’s position as one of Sydney’s major tourism destinations and a venue that is already heavily regulated.
“The tourism industry is a key generator of jobs and economic activity in central Sydney and these reforms will ensure that contribution can continue.
“We also welcome the news that additional free bus services will be provided for patrons of venues in Kings Cross, linking them to Night Rider services from the CBD.
“Ensuring people have a way to get home is critical to a successful night-time economy and more frequent buses will provide more options and help clear the precinct more quickly.”