It will be a very happy New Year…
By Vic Saule
The NSW Government will be happy to let you stay out past your bedtime and get into licensed venues after 1:30am, but just this once.
Here’s another reason to get excited for the New Year; Sydney’s controversial lockout laws will be temporarily changed from 1:30am to 3am that morning.
What this means for all you party animals out there is that you can cross having to stress about where to celebrate the new year off your list of potential concerns for the night (for example: that one friend that’s guaranteed to vomit that you don’t want to get stuck babysitting).
NSW’s Deputy Premier and minister for hospitality, Tony Grant, told News Corp that the change was “about striking a balance between common sense, industry and individual responsibility.”
After consulting the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing as well as the police, Grant believes the overarching concern on New Years Eve was overcrowded wharfs and an inevitable rush from Harbour Cruises to licensed venues that would occur with a 1:30am lockout.
“This is a commonsense approach for what is the biggest night on the Sydney calendar. Sydney is the greatest city in the world to spend New Year’s Eve and I want people to have fun, be safe and look after their mates,” said Grant.
All other restrictions – 3am last drinks and the closure of liquor stores after 10pm – will remain unchanged.
Somewhat ironically, the death of 18 year old Daniel Christie after being king-hit on New Years Eve is half the reason behind the “nanny-state” laws.
While research has shown a decrease in the number of alcohol-related violence and injury, there has been an increase in pedestrian accidents since the laws were put in place.
They have been recommended for review by a NSW committee and if New Years Eve goes smoothly, Grant has not ruled out relaxing lockout laws permanently.