“LOCK, STOCK AND BARREL:” ARA WELCOMES RECOMMENDATIONS TO AXE “LOCKOUT LAWS” BY NSW JOINT PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE REPORT
The Executive Director of the Australian Retailers Association, Russell Zimmerman, today welcomed recommendations by a NSW Parliament Inquiry to effectively axe Sydney’s so-called lockout laws – including in Kings Cross – saying the NSW government should enact the recommendations “lock, stock and barrel.” Speaking as the NSW Parliament’s Joint Select Committee Inquiry into Sydney’s night-time economy – to which the ARA contributed – released its final report and recommendations, Mr Zimmerman said the Committee’s findings vindicated the position of the ARA and the retail industry that the controversial laws should be axed. “These findings are simple common sense, and we welcome them absolutely,” Mr Zimmerman said. “We especially note the recommendation to end lockouts in Kings Cross; contrary to her indication a few weeks ago, we call on the Premier to implement the Committee’s recommendations lock, stock and barrel,” he added. Mr Zimmerman said the ARA noted Kings Cross was a “special case” given its colourful past, but said the report’s recommendation of a review after 12 months – not a continuation of lockouts in the precinct – made sense. He said the ARA remained sensitive to the deaths of two young men before lockout laws were introduced, but said their deaths didn’t justify the laws as the they occurred far earlier at night than the lockout period. “We told the Inquiry the so-called lockout laws had had a swathe of unintended consequences, and one of those was to virtually destroy nightlife – to say nothing of businesses and jobs – in the Kings Cross area,” he said. Mr Zimmerman said the ARA’s view was that the NSW government should implement all 40 of the Committee’s recommendations – which also cover considerations including licensing, community safety, transport, and crime reporting – rather than picking and choosing, potentially compounding problems the Inquiry set out to address. “We think given the problems these laws created, the sensible path is to adopt the recommendations and fine-tune later, rather than arbitrarily making judgements, which has failed in the past,” Mr Zimmerman said. “The ARA heartily endorses these recommendations, which will add to Sydney’s vibrancy and make it an even better place to live and visit. We urge the government to enact them without delay,” Mr Zimmerman concluded.