The Queensland government has followed NSW’s lead, introducing its own lockout laws as a means of tackling alcohol-fuelled violence.
Sydney’s bar, pub and club operators are growing increasing frustrated with its own laws, introduced in 2014 following the deaths of two young men, both ‘king hit’ on the streets of Kings Cross in violent assaults. As a result of the lockout law restrictions, which prohibit consumers from entering a venue for the first time after 1.30am, and ban the service of alcohol after 3am, foot traffic and therefore violent incidents have declined in the Kings Cross region, and so too have the number of profitable businesses. A number of venues in and around the area have shut their doors since 2014, with operators pointing the finger squarely at the lockout laws. These include Hugo’s Lounge, La Cita and The Flinders.
Businesses up north will, from July, be subject to similar restrictions, with new liquor laws passed on 18 February. According to the ABC, pubs and clubs will have to call last drinks at 2am, or 3am in party precincts.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the laws would make the state safer and help to save lives, however shadow attorney general, Ian Walker, disagrees, claiming “As legislators, emotion is not enough. It’s the head that has to rule when we look at legislation.”
According to a recent report from market research company IBISWorld, the Australian nightclub industry is expected to decline by 2.9 percent in 2015-2016, with analysts forecasting the drop is largely due to increased regulation and decreased alcohol consumption among younger demographics.
The industry grew only by 0.3 percent in 2014-15.
In response to the Sydney lockouts an organisation called Keep Sydney Open will this Sunday host a rally in order to encourage the state government to reassess the laws while also raising awareness about their impact on local businesses. 15,000 people have registered their interest in attending. Read more here.