A Greens MP has welcomed an apparent shift in the Government’s plans regarding Sydney’s controversial lockout laws.
Member for Newtown and Greens Spokesperson on liquor laws, Jenny Leong, has praised the government’s decision to hold roundtable discussions with stakeholders.
Ms Leong called the decision a change in tune on the government’s willingness to conduct a “genuine” review of the laws last week.
The Department of justice announced the intention to hold the discussions in February, but dates for the meetings where only disclosed last week.
“Today we saw the Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Troy Grant commit to holding roundtables with key stakeholders from across Sydney, as part of the lockout laws review,” Ms Leong said.
“With this latest announcement, Minister Grant seems to be singing a very different tune – and that’s music to our ears.”
“We can only hope they are finally tuning in to Sydney’s local arts and music-makers, venue operators and creative communities,” she said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice, Troy Grant, claimed that these roundtables would include representatives from the liquor , health, police and hospitality sectors amongst others.
“Everyone wants a safe and vibrant night-time Sydney economy,’’ Mr Grant said.
“This is an exciting chance for roundtable participants to work together to identify the issues and develop solutions that recognise the opportunities for our great city into the future,’’ he said.
Ms Leong attributed this breakthrough in large part to the Keep Sydney Open movement which held a rally in the city late last month.
“I congratulate the thousands of loud, creative and committed community members who have been calling to Keep Sydney Open. The Government has finally signaled that they’re willing to listen to alternatives to shutting down our city,” Ms Leong said.
“The Keep Sydney Open rally was attended by thousands of Sydneysiders and it was a powerful message to Baird and his Ministers, one that couldn’t be ignored. We also saw thousands of people expressing outrage online at the hypocrisy of the government shutting down our live music and late night venues while giving casinos a free pass, showing that concerns were felt right across Sydney.”
“This shift in response from the government shows that strong community campaigns work,” Ms Leong told City Hub
“If the Minister is genuine in wanting to give Sydney the safe nightlife it deserves we, and so many in the community, look forward to participating constructively to develop creative, integrated solutions that can keep Sydney vibrant, safe and open,” she said.
The roundtable discussions are scheduled to be held on the 31st of March, 28th of April and 19th of May with all outcomes of the discussions to be given to the review committee and published online.
Another group, Reclaim the Streets will hold a protest outside The Star Casino on Saturday at 3pm to protest the lockout laws and the exemption of the casino from them.
“There is a groundswell of opposition to #CasinoMike and his government’s draconian lockout laws, the people of NSW are sick of the millions in dirty money that is flowing into the Government and destroying our democracy,” a Reclaim the Streets spokesperson said.
“The Star has been exempted from the lockout laws, despite being the most violent venue in the state. Barangaroo, where James Packer’s Crown Casino will operate, is also exempt. The reason is money.”
The group said they wanted both major parties to reject donations from the Casino, and to refund all past donations.