Easing of Lockout Laws a Sensible Step
The further easing of lockout laws in Newcastle has been welcomed by Business Hunter as a move that will provide a boost to hospitality businesses as they continue their recovery from COVID restrictions.
The State Government announced today that lockout and trading hour restrictions on Newcastle pubs would be lifted as part of an extension of an earlier trial that focused on small bars.
“Business Hunter sees this as a positive step for Newcastle’s growing and maturing night-time economy,” Business Hunter CEO Bob Hawes said.
“We argued in a submission to government last year that these laws needed to be relaxed to allow the city’s new night economy to flourish.
“The city’s nightlife has diversified and matured considerably since the lockout laws were imposed in 2008 but the continued growth and evolution of the night economy is now being hindered by those restrictions because they affect the viability of businesses that rely on late-night trade.
“We believe the incentives and sanctions system introduced as part of the Liquor Amendment (24-hour Economy) Bill 2020 is an adequate means of policing good and bad behaviour by licensed venues that negates the need for city-specific regulations such as the Newcastle lockout laws.”
Mr Hawes said the so-called ‘Newcastle Model’ was a required antidote for the culture of anti-social behaviour that existed in the city in 2008 but the Newcastle’s nightlife had matured sufficiently that such restrictions were no longer required.
“We believe a system that rewards good operators is preferable to a blanket punitive approach that penalises all operators for what are essentially misdeeds of the past,” Mr Hawes said.
“The small bar trial has reportedly been very successful and widening the trial to include all licensed venues makes sense as a next step.”
In July last year, Business Hunter hosted a meeting of stakeholders to discuss the future of the lockout laws with Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello, Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp and One Nation Upper House MP Mark Latham, who sat on the Joint Select Committee on Sydney’s Night Time Economy. The small bar trial was announced by Mr Dominello shortly afterwards.