NSW Government Sets Up Independent Review Into Sydney Lock-Out Laws & NSW Liquor Laws

Monday 15 February 2016 @ 11.18 a.m. | Trade & Commerce

The NSW Government has announced the launch of a formal independent review into NSW's recent liquor law reforms, to be headed by retired Justice of the High Court of Australia, the Hon. Ian Callinan AC QC.  The review follows a wave of protests over the Sydney-lock out laws on social media.  The controversy escalated further when NSW Premier Mike Baird defended the laws in a lengthy Facebook post.

The Callinan review, which is being conducted under Clause 47 of Schedule 1 of the Liquor Act 2007, will look not only at Sydney’s lockout laws, but also at the wider 10 pm takeaway liquor restriction that applies across NSW.

NSW Police Minister Troy Grant said in a media release:

“The Callinan Review will provide an independent, open and transparent assessment of the state's liquor laws, focusing on the facts, to advise the New South Wales Government on the future of these laws in NSW... 

I want to make it clear it does not have a foregone conclusion – it will be guided by the evidence and the experiences of the people of Sydney and NSW.

Hearing from the public and all interested stakeholders will be a crucial component of the Callinan Review and I encourage anyone who has a view to express it in writing.

Mr Callinan is the right man for the job because he has a lifetime of experience leading evidence-based inquiries and exercising the independence of an official of the highest court in our country.”

Terms of Reference

According to the Justice NSW website, the terms of reference include:

  • The review will assess the impacts of the 1.30am lock out and 3am cessation of liquor sales requirements on:
    • alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour in the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct, Kings Cross Precinct, potential displacement areas, and the broader community;
    • safety and general amenity in the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct, Kings Cross Precinct, and potential displacement areas;
    • government, industry and community stakeholders, including business, financial and social impacts, and the impacts on patrons and residents (including whether venues continue to trade after 3am when alcohol service ceases).
  • The review will consider the positive and negative impacts of the 10pm takeaway liquor restriction across NSW, with particular regard to be had to the needs of rural and remote communities, and the social and economic impacts of the restriction on those communities.
  • The review will consider the impact of the periodic licensing fee system on business viability and vibrancy.

The website notes that the review will convene an “expert advisory group”, with Liquor & Gaming NSW also providing “appropriate secretariat and technical support”.  The review will also consider data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, and include qualitative as well as quantitative data sources.

The Justice NSW website says an issue paper and a call for formal submissions “will occur shortly”. The final report is scheduled to be completed in August 2016, with a Government response to follow later in the year.

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