Push for lockout laws to be lifted on night of Mardi Gras parade

Push for lockout laws to be lifted on night of Mardi Gras parade
Image: One of the dance floors from the Mardi Gras party 2015 (PHOTO: Ann-Marie Calilhanna; Star Observer)

Sydney councillor Christine Forster has written to Premier Gladys Berejiklian to ask that the city’s venue lockout laws be relaxed on the night of the Mardi Gras parade.

Forster said lifting the laws for Mardi Gras would be a “gesture of goodwill” to the LGBTI community, The Daily Telegraph has reported.

The laws have previously been relaxed for Oxford Street and Kings Cross venues for New Year’s Eve.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the 40th annual Mardi Gras celebration.

Forster said that many older revellers still hold “raw memories” of their poor treatment by police at the first march in 1978.

She argued in her letter to the premier that temporarily relaxing Sydney’s lockout laws could reinvigorate Oxford Street, as well as being a trial to provide evidence towards lifting the 1:30 am lockout for the inner city.

Nightlife advocacy group Keep Sydney Open has backed Forster’s call to drop the lockout for Mardi Gras.

Director Tyson Koh said staggered closing times for venues would be more appropriate given how many people would be forced out onto the streets otherwise.

“We think it would serve as the perfect event to qualify for an exemption,” said Koh.

The premier’s office is reportedly in the process of responding to Forster’s letter.

The 40th Sydney Mardi Gras will be on Saturday March 3.

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