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Sydney lockout law rollback welcomed by industry

Nearly 200 businesses have closed in Kings Cross since lockout laws were introduced.

Advocates for Sydney’s accommodation, hospitality and nightlife industries have collectively welcomed the move by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to partially roll back restrictive late-night trading restrictions which by some viewpoints have crippled the city.

Under the revised measures, restrictions on late-night entry into venues and drink service will be wound back in many parts of the city, however, will still apply in Kings Cross – the site of two high-profile violent incidents which led to the trading impositions being imposed by a previous Liberal government.

Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), which represents stakeholders in the hospitality, entertainment, arts and culture sectors, said it was pleased with the first step but added that “the work isn’t done yet”.

“To say the repeal of the CBD lockouts is welcomed is an understatement,” said NTIA Chairman, Michael Rodrigues.

“The Government’s inquiry into Sydney’s night time, shed light on many issues, including the reputation damage done to Sydney as a whole, due to how downgraded our nightlife culture has become.”

L-R Dean Long, AAoA and Michael Johnson, TAA

A full report from the state government inquiry into the city’s nightlife sector is due out at the end of this month, with a full suite of measures aimed at curbing alcohol-fuelled violence while addressing concerns including transport availability and the impact on the healthcare sector.

“There is going to need to be a lot more work done beyond lockouts to restore the perception of Sydney and put the region back on the map as a global destination,” Rodrigues added.

Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) CEO, Dean Long, who addresses the state government inquiry into the matter, said a holistic approach needed to be taken to four key areas including diversity in late-night activities; improving transport options; streamlined processes to help hotels and entertainment venues to operate and a monitor system to ensure new protocols are maintained.

“Reinvigorating Sydney’s night-time economy is vital for the success of Sydney as a destination. We welcome the government’s continuing engagement with business,” Long said.

Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) National CEO, Michael Johnson, was equally critical of the current situation affecting many venues which had previously behaved within the rules.

“TAA NSW has always been opposed to the lockout as a blanket measure which punishes many good venues. We would welcome the removal of the lockout from the Sydney CBD and look forward to the release of Committee findings in coming weeks.”

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