Why 30-Minutes Won’t Change Anything When It Comes To The Lockout Laws

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Why 30-Minutes Won’t Change Anything When It Comes To The Lockout Laws

Most would have seen a piece on The Daily Telegraph yesterday regarding Mike Baird’s comments surrounding the Lockout Laws and his willingness to follow through with recommendations from last months Callinan Review after the furore surrounding the Greyhound ban (made on moral grounds no less), and eventual flip to allow the industry a ‘second chance’.

While this may seem like a positive step in the right direction pushing lockouts to 2:00am and closure of venues at 3:30am, the reality is it’s not good enough.

30 minutes is no real indicator of how safe or un-safe someone can be at night and is only a small offering post the already potentially irreversible damage to Sydney’s history and charm.

It’s easy to forget that a nighttime isn’t just a window for all kinds of people to relax, have a dance and meet someone they never would have and maybe forget about their sometimes dull job, but also a nighttime economy, one that provides jobs for everyone.

Essentially ANY job during the day could also exist at night, think;

  • Taxi drivers
  • Uber drivers
  • Train drivers
  • Ferry drivers
  • Bus drivers
  • Waiters/Waitresses
  • Chefs
  • Cooks
  • Cashiers @ fast food outlets
  • Small business staff
  • Retail staff
  • Cinema staff
  • Security (retail)
  • Bouncers
  • DJs
  • Bands
  • Sound techs
  • Lighting techs
  • Street entertainers
  • Police (street patrols)
  • Rubbish collectors
  • Gallery staff
  • Boat cruise staff

To crush and suffocate the nighttime means crushing and suffocating a nighttime economy which often creates jobs for those studying at uni, those trying to get off the dole/centrelink, those trying to support families or even those trying to save up a deposit for a house/apartment.

Recent comments on various Facebook pages talking Lockout Laws often see responses about lockout laws being the only solution from the pro side but they are often surprised to hear that no consultation was made with the industry itself.

The largest and such group Keep Sydney Open (who organised a 10,000+ strong rally on the weekend) offer many, many recommendations to combat any alcohol fuelled violence (the kind both sides don’t want right?), these include;

  • 24-hour public transport
  • More lighting in entertainment areas
  • On-street entertainment
  • Public Toilets
  • Tier’d licensing for venues so good operators can continue being good operators
  • More Police on the street (i’m sure they would appreciate the extra hours)
  • Creation of a Night Mayor as a spokesperson and mediator between Gov and industry

None of which were trialled but have been effective in other states and cities around the world.

What really needs to be addressed is the core of the issue, and that issue is violence and it’s place in the Australian culture.

Too often the phrase ‘alcohol fuelled violence’ is the lynchpin of any argument surrounding the lockout laws but what about the rest?

  • How about the domestic kind that kills hundreds annually?
  • What about on the sports field where commentators and crowd egg of a flurry of punches?
  • What about on the road where we often see and hear of tragic outcomes?

This got me thinking about what the Government at both state and federal do in terms of anti-violence messaging and the way they communicate that with the people, the same majority of people being punished for the actions of a few.

Are schools still pushing a strong anti-bullying message? What about what happens after you finish school? How often do you see TV, radio or online adverts breaking down and discussing violence and it’s repercussions? Me? …can’t say i’ve seen a single one.

So how about we all take a deep breath, consider a short, medium and long standing strategy and really tackle the issue here with sustained anti-violence campaign, push-back the lockout laws and instate many of the recommendations above to allow Sydney to be late once again.


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