After years fighting for Sydney’s right to party, Keep Sydney Open is garnering support for a push to take the plight of the global city into parliament.
The controversial 1:30 lockout and 3am closure laws were introduced in February 2014, cementing a Government view that the night economy in Sydney was not important.
Framed as a drastic reaction to alcohol-related violence, occurring overwhelmingly on the streets rather than in venues, it was deemed the best approach would be to quash activity in the CBD and Kings Cross through a mandatory 1:30am lockout.
The policy has enjoyed some success in reducing figures of unprovoked violence, but only by virtue of the dramatic reduction in patronage in large swathes of the city. The displacement of patrons to surrounding precincts and unlicensed premises has made measuring any real effect statistically very challenging.
But the detriment has been undeniable at dozens of venues, particularly those which typically saw peak trade after midnight, and the live music industry that relies on city venues.
Implementation of the draconian trading restrictions, which have extinguished the traditional late-night entertainment precinct, Kings Cross, continues to forcibly transform Sydney’s reputation as a global city – even as Queensland scrapped similar plans for a lockout curfew, and Melbourne rejoices in the opportunity to replace Sydney as Australia’s primary city.
Keep Sydney Open (KSO) formed as a grassroots response from Sydney-siders to the damage done to businesses, industries including live music, and the city’s reputation internationally.
Noting slow progress and a government “not doing all it can”, the influential group is looking to form a political party, to ensure the voices of its widespread base are heard.
“Ultimately, we have an opportunity to represent venues and the people who support them in a way that’s currently not on offer,” explains KSO front-man Tyson Koh.
“We believe in a thriving city, and small business, nightlife and culture are essential to that.”
KSO is seeking 750 members for the Keep Sydney Open party – the requisite to be eligible for registration.
The group sees involvement by industry(s) as essential, and a parliamentary stance as potentially better for coordinating stakeholders.
“Keep Sydney Open is evolving, and we want our members to be a part of our journey. Members will have direct input to help shape our policies, which is why we want to see a broad cross-section of the community join our organisation,” furthers Koh.
Interested parties can download the form to register in the Keep Sydney Open party here.
Note: completed registrations MUST be posted (not emailed) to
Keep Sydney Open, PO Box 280, Darlinghurst, NSW, 1300