News & Insight

Lockout laws are here to stay, says Mike Baird

BOTTLE shops across the state will be forced to continue closing at 10pm, with Premier Mike Baird adamant the ­restriction will not be removed following a two-year review of NSW’s mandatory lockout laws next month. 

National Party MPs had hoped the restriction could be loosened in the bush, but the Premier is understood to be of the view all the alcohol restrictions put in place by his predecessor Barry O’Farrell should remain intact.

Mr Baird’s stance means all current lockout and drinks ­restrictions in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross are expected to remain in place long term.

Acting Premier Troy Grant yesterday declined to pre-empt the government review, saying the findings would be made public later in the year.

“The independent review will consider factors including impacts on alcohol-related violence and other harms, as well as impacts upon businesses and their patrons and impacts on community amenity,” he said.

“The review will include an analysis of data from the ­Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research to assess the effect of the February, 2014, measures on assault incidents and other relevant indicators.”

Community groups and the health department are expected to push for the lockout zones to expand into areas such as Pyrmont and Newtown but the proposal appears unlikely to gain support, with police telling the government they see no need for an extension.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph last year, Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said figures from BOCSAR chief Don Weatherburn revealed there had only been a “modest increase” in crime in spillover areas such as Pyrmont since the CBD lockouts were introduced.

The restrictions have applied to all CBD and Kings Cross venues since February, 2014.

“If the evidence starts pointing in that direction then we will chase the crime, we’ve got to,” he said. “We’re not seeing it and not supporting it.

“No one wants to be over-regulated in their life. The last thing you want is more laws to be passed just for the sake of making more laws.

“You don’t need to be overgoverned but, if it’s needed and if it’s Newtown or Pyrmont or wherever, I’ll be the first to go down to government and say, ‘We need to think about this’.”

The alcohol industry has been lobbying for some relaxation of rules around spirits.

Under the restrictions which have applied to all CBD and Kings Cross venues since February, 2014, last entry has been 1am and shots of spirits and premix drinks with more than 5 per cent alcohol content could not be sold after midnight.

Companies have complained the rule meant a 30ml serve of Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur has been banned in the CBD after midnight despite the fact it was less than half a standard drink, while stronger wines and pints of beers could be sold.

January 8, 2016 12:00am

EXCLUSIVE: Andrew ClennellState Political EditorThe Daily Telegraph

Take Kare, Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation, Thomas Kelly, lock outs, Mike Baird, @SaferStreets, #SaferSydney

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