The NSW Government has announced it will continue a freeze on new licences in Sydney’s CBD and Kings Cross, ahead of the review it will begin this month into Sydney’s controversial and increasingly unpopular ‘lockout’ laws.

Deputy Premier Troy Grant
Deputy Premier Troy Grant

Keeping the gate locked, lest the bolted horse actually return, NSW Deputy Premier and Justice Minister Troy Grant told media they had determined to extend the new licence ban while they conduct the review to ensure “certainty and confidence that nothing will change”.

The enquiry into Barry O’Farrell’s quickly-introduced legislation forcing licensed venues in a large segment of the city and all of the Kings Cross precinct to shut the doors to patrons at 1:30 will reportedly hear from supporters of the licensing changes and from industry affected by them.

While advocates have touted a dramatic drop in anti-social behaviour, statistics from St Vincents hospital are somewhat subjective – incorporating presentations involving accidents, DUIs, and even car versus pedestrian incidents all under the umbrella of ‘alcohol-related’.

Yet still the figures only show around 25 per cent reduction attributable to the lockout laws, with the City of Sydney admitting people numbers are down as much as 84 per cent in Kings Cross.

Kings Cross Liquor Accord CEO Doug Grand confirms that since 2014 when the new rules of 1:30am lockout and 3am last drinks were introduced more than a dozen venues have shut in the area, and says something needs to change.

“Reinvestment and regeneration is desperately needed in the precinct,” Grand told The Herald’s James Robertson.

The Liberal NSW Government has stated it will consider all viewpoints during the scheduled review, coming two years after the law’s rapid introduction in response to random acts of violence on the streets of Kings Cross.

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