Lockout Protests Finally Get NSW Govt's Attention; Set To Meet With Activists

10 March 2016 | 10:36 am | Neil Griffiths

It's about time.

It seems the recent anti-lockout rallys have finally gotten the attention of the NSW government, as they are set to meet with activists over the coming months, including Keep Sydney Open, to discuss ideas on how to boost Sydney's nightlife scene. 

According to Fairfax, as the city's lockout laws are up for review, the state government will host a "night-time economy roundtable" with groups such as the live music industry, the hotel lobby, youth organisations, government agencies and more.

"Everyone wants a safe and vibrant night-time Sydney economy," NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police, Troy Grant said.

"This is an exciting chance to work together."

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Meanwhile the Greens party spokeswoman Jenny Leong said the community's involvement in this discussion is long overdue. 

"Minister Grant seems to be singing a very different tune," Leong said.

"[We] have said from the start that it's essential that local communities are involved."

Speaking to theMusic this morning, Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne said the roundtable is just the beginning of a much greater discussion. 

"The pressure is starting to tell on Mike Baird but a 'round table discussion' won't be enough to undo the damage he has done to Sydney's live music scene," Byrne said.

"With thousands of music lovers now mobilised to save Sydney's nightlife it's time for the Premier to stop listening to the casino lobby and start listening to young people in this city.

"The Government's faulty legislation needs to amended to protect live music venues, before it's too late."

Last month an estimated 15,000 people turned out for the Keep Sydney Open rally.

Initial meetings will take place on 31 March, followed by two later meetings on 28 April and 19 May to discuss solutions and plans of action. 

The results of the meeting will then be given to High Court Justice Ian Callinan who is heading up the lockout laws review. 

Callinan's final review is expected to be released this August.

Speaking from Perth today where WAM and the Western Australian government are hosting the inaugural WA live music, arts and culture roundtable, Live Music Office Policy Director, John Wardle, said, "Given the context, this is a common sense response and a very welcome development for the live music industry.

"Even though there are parallel reviews underway from both NSW Treasury and Justice Callinan, getting all the interest groups at the table to start work together now is a necessary step to go beyond reactive policy and hopefully, find some consensus to rebuild a creative late night economy in the Sydney CBD, where the live music venues have taken a beating through this time. 

The South Australian and Victorian governments have standing regulation round tables and in Perth today the third state regulation roundtable is being established. These should be recognised as best practise as NSW now looks to a way forward."