Inner City Night Life

Inner City Night Life

(Question Without Notice, 4 August 2016, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)

My question is directed to the Deputy Premier. How will the Government improve the safety and vibrancy of the inner city's nightlife following the Callinan review and the nightlife roundtables?


Response from Deputy Premier:

I thank the member for Sydney for his question and his obvious interest in this matter. I commend him for the wonderful work he is doing in his electorate. Clearly, his electorate is most significantly affected by the CBD and Kings Cross plans of management and the measures that have been put in place there. I acknowledge that there has also been real and direct interest from residents in the surrounding electorates of Vaucluse, Coogee, Heffron, Newtown and Balmain. I am aware that constituents from all of those electorates have strong views on this issue. With the member for Sydney they have taken the opportunity to make submissions to the review so that the Hon. Ian Callinan, AC, QC has a clear understanding of the diverse and wide range of views on the matter, which will help him to advise the Government on the way forward.

We know that Sydney is a global city and an entertainment precinct that people from across the State and indeed the world come to enjoy. It is its distinct dynamic as a global city that has led to behaviour in the area severely deteriorating over time and ultimately ending in a tragic loss of life. I am sure the member for Sydney and every member joins me in acknowledging the incomprehensible level of grief of a family who was directly impacted by that deterioration as they bury their second son today. The violence that took place in the area was so unacceptable to the community that this Parliament was recalled and supported bipartisan changes to our alcohol laws. As originally intended when those laws were brought into place, we now have a review well and truly underway. It is very close to being finalised at the end of this month by the Hon. Ian Callinan, AC, QC.

The Government is expecting to receive the Callinan review by the end of August with no expected delays at this stage. After it goes to Cabinet we will release the review to the public in full. Mr Callinan is conducting a full and lengthy inquiry and has already made submissions available publicly online for anyone who is interested in hearing another point of view. I do not know what the findings of the Callinan review will be. As the Minister responsible, I eagerly await that review; however, every bit of evidence that I have seen in commentary about the review and from my previous experience as a licensing sergeant in the police force has led me to believe that different components under review will be considered as to their effectiveness and the like. It has certainly been my experience that the 3.00 a.m. last drinks measure in this regime that has been replicated in liquor accords across the State has been the most effective measure to address alcohol-related violence.

Alcohol-related violence is a significant and important issue that deserves full public debate. With the benefit of the Callinan review that is exactly what it is getting. Over the past five years a range of measures have been introduced to address alcohol-fuelled violence. It is no small task that Mr Callinan is undertaking. Whenever government introduces measures we must ensure that we get them right for the community, industry and everyone affected. We also need to ensure that everyone who is affected has buy in and the opportunity to make a contribution to the debate. That is why at the time of the Callinan review we held a series of safe and vibrant Sydney nightlife roundtables. They have been completed and today I have released the findings of those roundtables. Those findings have also been made available to Mr Callinan to include in his report.

Measures that are not the subject of Mr Callinan's review of our lockout laws at the roundtables which need to improve include better public transport late at night.[Extension of time]

They also include clearer defined rights to live music venues in our planning system and a greater role for arts and cultural endeavours to contribute to our night-time economy. In my capacity as the Minister for the Arts I am keen to see what measures can be adopted in this area and all these issues will be considered by the respective portfolio Ministers from the roundtables. I note that my arts department is already looking at how it can better partner with the City of Sydney and cultural institutions to ensure that people enjoy excellent cultural offerings and opportunities in a safe and secure Sydney late at night. I look forward to the review being completed and I thank the member for his question.

Let's work together to celebrate and protect our great city!