Night time culture
The Greens believe that Sydney can be a safe, vibrant, open, 24-hour, global creative city.
Innovative, integrated policies can reduce alcohol related violence without negatively impacting on Sydney’s creative communities and night-time economy. What's needed is a collaborative response that brings together stakeholders and community members to address issues of alcohol-related violence.
While we welcome the decrease in assaults and hospitalisation that has occurred since the lockouts were imposed, we believe that equally positive results could be achieved through alternative policies.
Blanket lockout laws are punitive and too broad-reaching. They place onerous restrictions on everyone, including the vast majority of people who act in a responsibly. There have been negative impacts on venues, small businesses, and Sydney’s live performance community have.
It's clear that there were problems with violence and antisocial-behaviour in areas of Sydney that needed to be addressed. The lessons that we need to learn from the experiences in Kings Cross and the CBD are about the failure to properly regulate licenced premises and integrate necessary infrastructure. By minimising the constraints on the alcohol industry, Sydney developed the worst of all possible mixes and densities of venues.
The lockout policy did not address a core problem in NSW: that the alcohol lobby retains too much influence over public policy.
The Greens will continue to advocate for a response to alcohol-related violence that learns from the experience of other global cities; that involves comprehensive community consultation; that directly addresses the individuals and venues involved in anti-social behaviour; and that allows Sydney to thrive as an internationally recognised, 24-hour city that encourages creativity, entrepreneurship and community use of public spaces.
Background to the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross Lockouts
In January 2014, then‐Premier Barry O'Farrell recalled parliament to pass legislation that put in place 1:30am lock outs and 3:00am last drinks for venues in the Kings Cross Entertainment Precinct and the Sydney CBD. It also imposed a 10pm curfew on takeaway liquor sales.
The NSW Coalition Government responded to issues of alcohol-fuelled violence and anti-social behaviour with a heavy handed law and order approach, supported by the Labor opposition.
The Greens voted against the legislation, as we believe that innovative, integrated policies can reduce alcohol related violence without negatively impacting on Sydney’s creative communities and night-time economy.
While we welcome the decrease in assaults and hospitalisation that has occurred since the lockouts were imposed, we believe that equally positive results could be achieved through alternative policies that do not have adverse impacts on the broader community.
The Greens welcome any reduction in violent crime but how this is achieved needs to be balanced with other impacts.
The lockouts have had a negative impact on our creative communities, live music venues, our night-time economy and our vibrant nightlife. They also unfairly punish the vast majority people in our community who act responsibly.
Local Impacts in Newtown
In the wake of the implementation of the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross lockouts, visitor numbers to Newtown increased and anecdotally we could all feel that things were changing (and not necessarily for the better!) In response, our office initiated a collaboration between the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre and the Newtown Business Precinct Association. This began with a well-attended public meeting and then resulted in the establishment of the Newtown Vibe Roundtable – co-convened by the Member for Newtown and the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre and involving representatives from the local police, the Newtown Business Precinct Association, the Newtown Liquor Accord, ACON, local councils and local residents. The Roundtable draws on the vast local knowledge of participants and has been able to implement effective local strategies to address anti-social behaviour, as well as ensure that communication about potential risks is shared.
While there has been an increase in visitor numbers to Newtown, there has not been a corresponding increase in reported violent incidents. It has been a positive local strategy that has shown that it is possible to keep venues open late without compromising on safety.Read Protecting the Vibe - A Report from the Newtown Vibe Roundtable - March 2017Produced by the Office of Jenny Leong MP, the Member for Newtown, and the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, in collaboration with Newtown Vibe Roundtable Participants
Read more about the Greens’ alternatives to lockouts.
Watch Greens MP Jenny Leong asking former Premier Mike Baird to acknowledge that there are measures other than lockouts that can reduce violence and also keep Sydney open.
Read Greens MP Jenny Leong’s op ed on the Sydney lockout laws in the SMH.
Read about how local initiatives in Newtown are tackling problems with alcohol related violence in the City Hub.