NSW Greens acting spokesperson on Liquor Laws Jenny Leong says the community is right to be outraged by the recent comments from Premier Mike Baird that have all but promised that Sydney’s CBD lockout laws will live on – even though the stipulated public review has not even begun.
“The CBD lockouts were imposed with a top-down, heavy-handed approach from the Baird government. Yes, there was a problem, but there was no attempt to work with the community and key stakeholders to find a long-term solution that would keep our city vibrant, open and safe,” she says.
“We have been consistently promised that the lockout laws will be reviewed with proper community consultation – but now the Premier has come out and all but declared that the lockouts will continue as they are, regardless of what the community thinks.
“Baird says there’s a moral obligation to protect people. He wants to do that by telling them to stay home. Instead of dealing with the drunken dickheads who are causing the violence, he’s punishing everybody, including the vast majority of people who act responsibility.
“There are other innovative ways to reduce alcohol related violence, we don’t need to shut our city down.
“The Premier seems to think that the lockouts are working and if you only look at the stats around assaults you might agree. But that ignores other big costs to our community and fails to consider other approaches to the problem that could reduce violence without emptying our streets.
“If the government was serious about reducing harm they’d be looking at the serious problems that come from gambling. It’s hard not to be cynical about lockout laws that intentionally exclude the casinos – and offer exemptions to certain big venues to allow 24 hour gambling,” she says.