The City of Sydney’s latest report into the Late Night Economy confirms the massive drop in visitor numbers in the lockout zones, and prompts calls for a national solution to stop the bleeding.

Statistics on pedestrian numbers and surveys were gathered at more than 50 locations throughout the CBD, Kings Cross and surrounding areas, including precincts not subject to the ‘lockout’ restrictions.

The numbers show that late-night foot traffic is down a whopping 80+ per cent in both Kings Cross and Oxford St precincts, following their post-midnight peak periods.

This observation also highlights that patrons in these areas are not entering venues prior to the lockout time and staying until last drinks, but instead leaving the area altogether.

“The lack of a secondary peak between 3-4am suggests that people are leaving the area, rather than staying in venues until closing times,” was noted in the report.

Acts of antisocial behaviour have dropped in Sydney, continuing the trend that began before the lockout restrictions – but not in proportion with the drop in patronage.

In other States, violent acts in entertainment precincts have smeared the news across the Christmas-New Year period, even in precincts heavily patrolled by police and Street Chaplains.

At the coalface of the wreckage in hospitality businesses, Kings Cross Liquor Accord CEO Doug Grand says the Federal Government must look at a national solution to what is a cultural problem.

“Kings Cross has been at the centre of the trade downturn, and it has caused carnage to business and employment in the area,” Grand told PubTIC.

“If Government is serious about delivering a real solution to what is clearly a national problem, they need to execute a national education campaign on the serious dangers of ‘coward’ punches and unprovoked violence.”

As Queensland grapples to justify introducing State-wide lockouts, and Melbourne leaps at the opportunity to soak up Sydney’s losses, the National office of the Australian Hotels Association says it would support the notion of a community education initiative.

“We abhor violence in any form, and would back any education aimed at reducing incidents,” Stephen Ferguson told PubTIC.

“Any measures to protect people from violence are more than welcome.”

At the heart of the PR battle between Sydney hoteliers and the court of public opinion – as adjudicated by scandal-driven media – the AHA NSW reiterates the truth of the City of Sydney report’s findings.

“Alcohol-related assault figures are trending down in areas right across NSW – State-wide they are at the lowest levels since the 90s,” said AHA NSW President Scott Leach.

“These are areas that do not have severe measures imposed from above.

“AHA NSW is constantly making this point.”

Legal specialist to the hospitality and former Sydney police officer, Ken Yardy, says the effects on business have been devastating.

“People have been ruined,” stressed Yardy. “The lockout restrictions were ham-fisted and punitive – a hammer to crack walnuts.

“The two most boring places to go out these days are Kings Cross, and Hunter Street in Newcastle, because no-one is there and everything is closed.

“If Government expects people to invest in the economy and employ people, there has simply got to be some certainty around the regulations you will face. Kings Cross businesses were side-swiped.”

The NSW State Government will begin its report into the efficacy of the lockout trade restrictions, with a spokesperson for deputy-Premier Troy Grant stating the review would cover “all aspects, including the effect the laws may have on the local economy”.

Dreamgirls and nearby Bada Bing were this month closed due to OLGR breaches involving drugs
Dreamgirls and nearby Bada Bing were this month closed due to OLGR breaches involving drugs


  1. BEFORE the lock-out laws were introduced there were very FEW POLICE patrolling Kings Cross.
    That’s why we had so many assaults and deaths.

    AFTER the lock-out laws were introduced we had a 1000% INCREASE in POLICE numbers.
    That’s why we statistically had such a large drop in assaults.

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