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Sydney mayor calls for lockout exemptions for live music venues

Clover Moore has broken her silence on the restrictions

  • SCOTT CARBINES
  • 4 April 2016

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has called for exemptions from the city's lockout laws for some venues in a formal submission to their review.

The City of Sydney says live music venues and well-managed bars and clubs should be free from the 1.30am lockout and those with a good compliance history should be excused from having to call last drinks at 3am in the affected zone.

The lockout laws were introduced in 2014 in an attempt to reduce street violence.

Moore said: “The city spent years trying to get successive state governments to respond to a worsening situation in the Cross. We knew what the problem was – too many venues in one area, lifetime liquor licences which reduce accountability, and a planning system that doesn’t recognise when an area has become saturated.

“Rather than addressing the real problems, the New South Wales government’s response was to introduce a blanket lockout across the city centre and in Kings Cross (with an inexplicable exemption for the casino). It was a sledgehammer when what we needed was a well-researched, evidence-based, flexible response using transport, planning, licensing and police.”

“Well-managed late-trading premises are essential to our city’s cultural life and economic growth," she added.

The City of Sydney's submission recommends an approach that avoids a saturation of licenses in one area, and that owners that fail to manage safe venues do not have their licences renewed. Elsewhere in its submission, the council supports the sale of takeaway alcohol continuing to be banned after 10pm statewide and calls for later train services on Friday and Saturday nights.

The stance puts the City of Sydney at odds with the conservative Liberal NSW government and its leader, Premier Mike Baird, who has said: "It is going to take a lot for me to change my mind on a policy that is so clearly improving this city."

The lockout laws are currently up for independent review. Its findings will be handed to the NSW state government in August.

Meanwhile, last week, the City of Sydney announced it was planning to scrap 62 alcohol-free zones across the city.

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

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