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8 December 2016

NSW Government's response to lockout and last drinks laws announced

The NSW Government will maintain Sydney’s  lockout and last drinks laws and implement the key recommendations of the statutory review by Hon Ian Callinan AC QC.

In line with the review, lockout laws will be relaxed for live entertainment venues in Sydney’s CBD and Kings Cross and takeaway and home delivery alcohol sales will be extended from 10pm to 11pm across the State.

As recommended by Mr Callinan, a two-year trial of a later 2am lockout and 3.30am last drinks will be allowed via exemption for venues that offer genuine live entertainment, live performances or art and cultural events.

The Government will also make changes to other areas of the state’s liquor laws:

  • Extend the liquor licence freeze in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross until 1 June 2018, with some minor changes to provide more opportunities for businesses to refurbish and improve their offerings to customers
  • Increase small bar patron capacity from 60 to 100 and provide automatic extended trading to 2am for small bars in the CBD and Kings Cross
  • Retain mandatory ID scanners in Kings Cross
  • Improve the effectiveness of the Three Strikes disciplinary scheme for venues that repeatedly commit the most serious offences under the Liquor Act and the Minors Sanction Scheme for venues that sell alcohol to under-18s
  • Introduce a provisional approval system for low-risk venues, such as restaurants and cafes, so they can begin liquor trading as soon as they lodge an application

Changes to lockouts, take away sales, and small bars can be made by regulation and will commence in January. Changes to three strikes and the liquor license freeze will require the passage of legislation to be presented to Parliament early next year.

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