Sydney’s 24-hour economy reforms approved by Parliament

18 November, 2020 by Andy Young

The NSW Parliament’s Legislative Council has approved the Liquor Amendment Bill 2020, which is aimed at kick-starting and re-energising Sydney-;s night-time economy post COVID-19 and beyond.

Key changes in the Liquor Amendment (24-hour Economy) Bill 2020 include:

Advertisement
  • A new incentives and sanctions system with ongoing fee discounts for licensed venues that maintain a clear record;
  • Removal of outdated live music restrictions;
  • Allow small bars to offer more family friendly services to customers, by permitting minors in certain circumstances;
  • Reducing red tape by aligning liquor licensing and planning processes; and
  • Enhancing same day alcohol delivery regulations.

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the news laws will create a vibrant and safe 24-hour economy, with risk-based liquor laws that support business.

“The new laws will boost the state’s night time economy by removing outdated laws, simplifying licensing processes and creating a new incentives and sanctions system that rewards licence holders with a clear record,” Mr Dominello said.

“The economy doesn’t go to sleep after dark and we need laws that cater for a 21st century economy. The hospitality sector has been brought to its knees this year and the new laws will give the sector greater certainty and flexibility.”

The passing of the bill has been widely welcomed, with AHA NSW Director of Liquor and Policing John Green, saying: “The key component of the legislation is the amalgamation of the three regulatory schemes (Three Strikes, Violent Venues and Minors Sanctions) into a simpler, fairer single demerits system. This is something AHA NSW has been advocating for some time and is particularly welcomed.

“The legislation also makes a range of changes regarding live music including the removal of many music-related liquor licence conditions and allowing local government to remove those conditions where they are mirrored in Development Consents.”

The Night Time Industries Association also welcomed the new legislation, with Chair Michael Rodrigues saying: “This has been a long journey, but I can’t emphasise how much a big deal these reforms will make to Sydney’s nightlife. It strips away great swathes of regulation, some bewildering, some comical, but all unhelpful to venue operators.

“The NTIA has brought together and worked alongside a coalition of the willing to campaign for these reforms, and the government deserves kudos for getting them over the line.

“However, the new legislation marks the end of the beginning rather than the beginning of the end. We still have a lot to do to support a sector reeling from a year of bushfires, pandemic and recession. But today is a landmark for Sydney’s nightlife and one that should be celebrated.”

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the laws would breathe new life into the economy.

“This is great news and a double win for the community. The changes will empower businesses to thrive and grow, and provide customers with more choice,” Mr Ayres said.

“The changes follow on from the Government’s response to NSW Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Sydney’s night time economy.”

The new laws are expected to take effect from 1 December 2020 and complement recent changes to outdoor dining regulations, which make it easier for businesses to offer alfresco dining.