Lockout laws to start in Sydney
NSW Parliament has pushed through Premier Barry O’Farrell’s planned legislation restricting late night trading in Sydney city venues.
The new laws, which were announced by O’Farrell last week as a response to increased incidents of alcohol fuelled violence in city hotspots, will see venues in the ‘city precinct’ enforcing 1.30am lockouts, with last drinks in premises to be called at 3am.
Bottle shops will now also have an early closing time of 10pm.
Sydney Independent MP Alex Greenwich is critical of the new legislation, he told news.com.au the government failed to supply a briefing on the new bill until an hour before they were introduced to parliament.
“Normal parliamentary process was abandoned to prevent scrutiny of the legislation and time for debate,” Greenwich said.
While Greenwich said he welcomed the government giving the issue priority he said now was not the time for secrecy.
"Proper process and expert advice can only strengthen laws and prevent unintended problems. We need to get this right. Rushing a bill through parliament after months of no response will reduce community confidence in the government’s ability to tackle alcohol fuelled violence.” Greenwich said in a statement on his website
The new laws which include mandatory sentencing for assaults under the influence of drugs or alcohol, will come into force in April.
Campaigns are already underway to oppose the new laws, including one by the Sydney Late Night Culture Alliance. The Alliance was announceed yesterday as a response to the new laws. It is an initiative of a group of inner city venues and Music industry pundits who want to keep Sydeny's live music and small bar scene alive. The Alliance has launched a 'Keep Sydney Open' campaign, which asks the Government to look at an alternative response to alcohol fuelled violence rather than adopt the ‘Newcastle’ model.
Kings Cross nightclub owner John Ibrahim described the 1.30am lockouts are ridiculous. He told the Fairfax Media, “It's going to mean even more people are roaming around the streets with nothing else to do.”
Map of Sydney City Precinct
UPDATE: the Lockout laws will commence in Sydney in April. One Punch law starts from tonight (January 31). Read more