A new report by Sydney’s Late Night Management Areas Research (LNMAR), is highlighting the troubling effects of the city’s lockout laws. The LNMAR report confirmed that less people are going to the entertainment district, instead opting for less regulated areas such as Newtown & Redfern. Since the introduction of these laws, the nightlife in Sydney’s entertainment district has been almost completely destroyed. Nocturnal foot traffic has been reduced so drastically that many businesses have been forced to close. The ones that have remained opened are now complaining that overzealous police harassment isn’t allowing them to operate. One restaurant got into a social media sparring match with the Sidney police department after being sighted for “anti-social behavior”, with both sides adamantly defending their position. As tempers rise & businesses continue to be regulated out of existence, we have to question whether these lockout laws are doing more damage than good.
LNMAR Study Showcases Destructive Effects of Lockout Laws
The LNMAR report is painting a dismal picture for a future for Sidney’s entertainment district. The report compared foot traffic statistics in Kings Cross, Oxford Street and the CBD South in December 2012 and March 2015. The figures show a shocking drop in activity in these areas; with an 84% decrease in Kings Cross, a 70% decrease in CBD South & a whopping 82% decrease in Oxford St. The most troubling trend that the new study showed was the massive increase in “peak pedestrian counts across all times on Friday” in Newtown, adding “on Saturday, again, Newtown observed increases in peak pedestrian counts across the night, peaking at 12am”. This has validated bar owners’ arguments that instead of fixing the problem, the lock out laws are doing nothing more than moving the “problem” to other areas. The report went on to support their arguments even further, when it cited: “When anti-social behaviour density was compared between 2012 and 2015, Kings Cross observed the largest decreases in the number of incidents, while Redfern observed the largest increase per 1000 people.”
“Today’s figures come as no surprise to the industry,” AHA NSW president Scott Leach told The Shout. “Pedestrian counts are well down across the CBD and Kings Cross because no one is going there. Numbers appear up in some other areas but we are pleased to note there hasn’t been a correlating rise in street violence.
“While some will be pleased to justify the destruction of the nighttime economy by quoting reductions in street violence in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross, it should be remembered one set of statistics doesn’t paint the full picture. Alcohol related assault figures are trending down in areas right across NSW – statewide they are at the lowest levels since the 90s. These are areas that do not have severe measures imposed from above. AHA NSW is constantly making this point.”
These reports are revealing the futility of these outrageous laws. On top of not solving the problem, they are destroying Sidney’s once vibrant nighttime economy. Now that the effects have been researched, we need to quit turning a blind eye to the negative consequences of this over-regulation. The sad truth is no matter how many laws & restrictions the government imposes, people will find a place to go out & drink. When you basically outlaw any type of nighttime entertainment, you can’t be surprised when one area becomes a ghost town while another one gets flooded with drunks. It’s time to quit treating grown adults like mindless children who need helicopter parenting. This month the state government is set to review the lockout laws, hopefully they don’t get bullied into continuing a destructive witch hunt that has already proven to be a failure.