It’s no secret that Sydney has become a ghost town in recent years since the introduction of controversial lockout laws designed to curb alcohol-fuelled violence on the streets.
Today those laws which have drastically altered Sydney’s once-burgeoning nightlife scene have been relaxed by NSW Premiere Mike Baird – the very man who put them in motion back in 2014.
The surprise move comes as a response to the recommendations of a statutory review and will see the 1:30am lockout now be extended to 2:00am, whilst last drinks will be pushed back from 3:00am to 3:30am.
The relaxed rules will include all Sydney venues within the CBD and Kings Cross which offer live entertainment, performances or other art and cultural events as part of their alcohol service.
NSW bottle shops which also didn’t escape the lockout laws will be given some leeway with takeaway and home delivery alcohol services now being allowed to trade until 11:00pm as opposed to the current 10:00pm curfew.
Whether or not this is enough to save Sydney’s crippled music and nightlife scene is still to be seen. Since the laws have come in place numerous high-profile bars and live music venues have shut down due to low patronage and reinvesting in such an establishment may seem risky given the revised laws are only on a two year trial.
The new recommendations for relaxing the laws were overseen by former High Court judge Ian Callinan.
“Mr Callinan found that the lockout laws introduced in February 2014 have resulted in ‘much safer, quieter and cleaner areas’,” said Baird in a statement.
“He made some common-sense suggestions for changes that we are confident will further enhance night-life in the precincts without undermining the essential purpose of the laws – which is to make the CBD and the Cross places where people can enjoy a safe night out.”
The changes will take effect from January 2017. Perhaps it’s time to hit up Sydney’s best hidden bars.