The New South Wales government is reportedly likely to knock back a call to relax lockout laws for an extended period during this year’s Mardi Gras.
Independent Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich and Liberal Councillor Christine Forster have been pushing the NSW government to ease lockout restrictions for more than just one night this year.
Forster wrote a letter to NSW Minister for Racing Paul Toole in November last year requesting that the easing of lockout laws be extended over a week, citing a boon for Darlinghurst businesses and no increased incidence of violence.
“There was no reported increase in incidents of alcohol-related antisocial behaviour either in the immediate vicinity or surrounding areas,” Forster wrote.
“Given the success of the temporary measure in 2018, I would like to request the lockouts be relaxed in the same are from 23 February 2019 until 3 March 2019.
“The relaxation of the laws for a full week would provide visitors to Sydney the fullest opportunity to enjoy the festival and the cultural experience which this part of the city offers in a safe and relaxed environment.”
Greenwich said this week that he will continue to push for a longer easing of lockout laws around Mardi Gras.
“One night is not enough. I’ll keep pushing for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival to be exempt from the lockouts,” Greenwich tweeted.
“We have tens of thousands people visit who want to spend tens of millions at local businesses.”
A Deloitte Access Economics report released on Tuesday estimated that Sydney’s lockout laws had cost the city’s economy as much as $16 billion.
The report estimates Sydney’s nightlife is worth around $27 billion, supporting around 230,000 jobs, with nightlife around Australia making up around 3.8 per cent of Australia’s economy – well short of the UK’s 6 per cent the Deloitte report suggests could be achieved here.