Lockouts eased to boost Sydney arts scene

Emergency services workers have warned the easing of Sydney’s tough lockout laws for some hotspots will invite a spike in alcohol-related violence and place the community at risk.
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The state government on Thursday announced it would lift the freeze on new liquor licences in Kings Cross and the CBD for venues with a focus on live music, arts and culture.

“New businesses offering live music as well as broader arts and cultural events will be able to apply to open in Kings Cross and the CBD,” NSW Racing Minister Paul Toole said in a statement on Friday.

“The NSW government is committed to developing Sydney’s night-time economy and helping the industry provide more diverse entertainment options.”

However, the Last Drinks Coalition – representing some police officers, paramedics, nurses and doctors – condemned the “reckless” decision.

“There is clear evidence that a high concentration of venues serving alcohol leads to increased levels of alcohol-related assault in that precinct,” said NSW Police Association vice president Pat Gooley.

“I’ve seen first-hand the terrible results of this on the streets on Kings Cross prior to 2014.”

The freeze on new liquor licences for venues considered “high risk” such as hotels, clubs, bars and nightclubs will be extended for a further 12 months.

There are now 30 clubs and pubs in the CBD and Kings Cross allowed to admit guests until 2am, and serve drinks until 3.30am.

Under the city’s lockout and last drinks conditions, venues are required to stop admitting new patrons at 1.30am and stop serving alcohol at 3am, with venues offering live entertainment able to apply for extensions.

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