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Global city needs viable night-time economy

Release Date: 4/04/2016
The Sydney Business Chamber says the independent review by the Hon. Ian Callinan AC into the impact of liquor law reforms is an opportunity for the New South Wales Government to redress the heavy-handedness of Sydney’s lock-out laws.
“We share the NSW Government’s commitment to reducing alcohol-related violence, but it is now time for a more nuanced approach which recognises that Sydney needs a viable night-time economy if it is to remain a global city and Australia’s leading visitor destination,” said Executive Director of the Sydney Business Chamber, Patricia Forsythe.
“The Government’s introduction of lock-out laws in the Kings Cross and CBD precincts in response to a spate of alcohol-related attacks across our city was appropriate at the time and sent a strong message to the community, however it is now clear that this approach is too heavy-handed and adversely impacts businesses to the point of closure.
“The visitor economy is one of Sydney’s largest export industries, and is heavily reliant on a vibrant and accessible night-time economy. A regulatory environment that forces more and more venues to close makes the city centre unappealing and keeps away thousands of visitors who are able to enjoy a safe night out.
“This comprehensive review of the scheme is an important opportunity to readdress the means by which we effectively reduce alcohol-related violence while ensuring that Sydney remains a vibrant place to live, visit and do business. 
“The Government should be revisiting all options, including investing in key services such as police, public transport and public amenities and re-examining the provision of public safety through best practice spatial design.
“The Sydney Business Chamber believes a pilot exemption to the current lock-outs should be undertaken to enable affected venues to demonstrate their compliance with general licencing obligations and overall safety performance over a twelve month period.
“We should be looking at reducing rather than extending the scope of the lock-out laws, as expanding the number of affected precincts would only undermine Sydney’s reputation as a competitive, global city.
“In addition to improving late night transport, successful strategies adopted by venues outside the Kings Cross and CBD precincts should be seen as examples of how a stronger focus on Responsible Service of Alcohol, effective security strategies, and co-operation between law enforcement, local businesses and the community can enable Sydney to provide safe late-night experiences for residents and visitors alike,” Mrs Forsythe said.
Media contact: Patricia Forsythe 0418 165 466

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