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Image credit: Louis Hansel

Kings Cross could soon have a buzzing nightlife again.

The controversial Kings Cross lockout laws the NSW Government implemented in 2014 are set to be lifted, with restrictions relating to venue lockouts and drink service to be eased from next month.

Kicking off from March 8th, the 1:30 am lockout restriction will be lifted for Kings Cross venues such as nightclubs and bars. Laws in the inner-city locality will now be on par with Sydney’s wider CBD, which saw restrictions eased in January 2020.

Venues across Kings Cross will be able to serve alcohol until 3:30am – a further two hours than current limitations allow.

There will also be a lift on drink-serving restrictions such as discount cocktails, shots, and beverages served in glass.

Furthermore, CCTV surveillance will no longer be enforced and Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) marshals no longer required during venue trading hours.

The lockout laws were introduced in 2014 following the deaths of two teenagers, Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie, who were the victims of alcohol-fuelled one-punch attacks.

Kings Cross 2.0?

Since restrictions were introduced, bars and clubs across Kings Cross have been hit hard financially. Many were forced to close down. A 2019 parliamentary inquiry estimated that the laws were costing the economy $16 billion a year.

“Kings Cross has transformed considerably since these laws were introduced over six years ago,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said to The Sydney Morning Herald.

“The precinct is now well positioned to continue to evolve into a vibrant lifestyle and cultural destination with a diverse mix of small bars, live music venues and restaurants.”

Sydney Mayor Clover Moore called the removal of the laws “a huge win for Sydney’s nightlife” on social media, hailing the move as a positive step for hospitality workers and those in the arts that long campaigned against the restrictions.

“Shortly after the lockouts were lifted in the CBD/Oxford St, the pandemic hit and sent new shockwaves through our nighttime economy. Now, as we cautiously start to emerge from Covid-19, a diverse, exciting nightlife will be central to recovery – and KX has a vital role,” Ms Moore said.

“The Cross has a rich and colourful history. We’re confident its next chapter will be safe and lively, with a thriving residential community and a diverse economy that includes fabulous bars and restaurants, theatres and shops.”

Independent MP for Sydney Alex Greenwich also praised the change.

“Global cities don’t tell people when to go to sleep, they help them have a fun and safe night,” Mr Greenwhich said.

“Harmonising the licensing conditions with the rest of the Sydney CBD and Oxford Street is long overdue and will bring hope to businesses who have been doing it tough.”

A review of the changes will occur one year after they come into effect.


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