THE NSW government is under pressure to lift the lockout laws for next year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade following this week’s decision to make New Year’s Eve exempt from the laws.
The recent exemption applied to New Year’s Eve (NYE) follows after Sydney state independent MP Alex Greenwich requested the lockout laws to be lifted for next year’s Mardi Gras Parade night.
Greenwich has since reinforced his request for the NYE exemption to also be considered for Mardi Gras 2015.
“I have called on the government to apply the same common sense approach to next year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras,” he said.
The Mardi Gras festival attracts thousands every year, including international tourists. There are concerns the lockout could create a safety hazard as crowds hastily travel to post-parade parties and events in licensed venues before 1.30am.
There is also speculation the lockout laws could play an effect on the economy and image of Sydney’s Mardi Gras.
“Sydney is Australia’s global city, and we need to ensure our night time economy is a safe and vibrant one,” Greenwich said.
Earlier this year, Greenwich had requested the lockout law to be lifted for Mardi Gras, but this did not succeed.
The Mardi Gras’ official post-parade Party is held at Moore Park, which does not fall under the geographical boundaries for the lockout laws, but all of Sydney’s gay bars and clubs in the Oxford St precinct do.
[Editor’s note: Almost two hours after this story was published, it was reported that the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing released a statement say they would not consider making Mardi Gras exempt from the lockout laws. More here.]