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Premier says people concerned about Sydney's nightlife are 'hysterical'

The city is 'more vibrant than ever', according to Mike Baird

  • SCOTT CARBINES
  • 9 February 2016

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird has taken to Facebook to rant about the success of Sydney's lockout laws.

Posting to his official account this afternoon, Baird dismissed concerns about the city's nightlife as "hysteria" and claimed the city was "more vibrant than ever".

"There has been a growing hysteria this week about nightlife in Sydney," Baird wrote. "The main complaints seem to be that you can’t drink till dawn any more and you can’t impulse-buy a bottle of white after 10pm. I understand that this presents an inconvenience. Some say this makes us an international embarrassment. Except, assaults are down by 42.2 per cent. And there is nothing embarrassing about that."

Among the avalanche of comments that ensued, nightlife and culture advocates Keep Sydney Open pointed out that everyone wanted safer streets, but the government's approach was not the way to go about it.

"Unfortunately, you are touting a curfew as the the only way to achieve a reduction in anti-social behaviour," the group wrote. "We know from studying other cities that you can maintain social and economic activity while reducing assaults. Getting rid of people from entertainment precincts is 'cheating' a solution. A 42% drop in assaults is pathetic when measured against the harm done to jobs, business, the live music scene and freedom."

A number of Sydney artists also weighed in on the debate in the comments.

"How about you let the public vote on the issue instead of an out of touch group of suits?" Flight Facilities said. "If you were elected (to) represent a majority, perhaps you should find out if they agree with you."

"As a Kings Cross resident, I feel unsafe to walk home as there is literally NO ONE around, including police officers," wrote Nina Las Vegas. "As a nightclub DJ and promoter, I can't work within the lockout zones and am continually explaining to international visitors WHY our city is no longer somewhere you would want to perform."

Introduced two years ago, the lockout laws will be reviewed over the next couple of months. But just how much of an open mind Baird and his colleagues will be taking into the process is of concern. 

Especially if he actually knows what the word 'vibrant' means and still went with it:

"This is the greatest city in the world and it is now safer and more vibrant than ever. Long Live Sydney," - Mike Baird, February 2016.

Scott Carbines is Mixmag's Australian Online News Editor, follow him on Twitter here

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