Sydney’s ‘lock out’ laws take a knock

September 2016

Live events sector



The Supreme Court of New South Wales has ruled that Sydney venues are exempt from New South Wales’s controversial ‘lock-out laws’ which were introduced by the New South Wales (NSW) government in 2014 and require that music venues, nightclubs, bars and hotels lock their doors at 1.30am and not serve drinks past 3.00 in a bid to curb alcohol-related violence. The legislation has been attacked by a number of prominent Australians as illogical and damaging to the music industry. This case was brought by the owners of the Smoking Panda bar who persuaded the Court that  the New South Wales Justice Department lacked the authority to subject to the city to the 1.30 curfew. The bar now joins tourist areas and hotels which are already exempt from the lock-outs, The Smoking Panda’s exemption was cancelled after an investigation found some bar patrons were not hotel guests.


In addition to live music venues, Supreme Court judge Natalie Adams also ruled strip clubs should be exempt, stating the laws are “not a proper exercise of the regulation-making power conferred upon the governor [of New South Wales]”. Lock-out laws continue to apply to other establishments. The decision is likely to be appealed.


In related news, the results of the Callinan Review into Sydney’s lockout laws have been delayed. The independent investigation is being headed up by former Justice of the High Court Ian Callinan and was due to be delivered this month but, according to an update on the official government website, it will now be delayed by two weeks until September 13th. The Callinan review has received 1,800 submissions.

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