New 24-hour economy liquor reforms take effect

Minister for Digital, Minister for Customer Service

The next round of changes to NSW liquor laws comes into effect today to further support Sydney’s nightlife and encourage a vibrant and safe 24-hour economy.

Minister for Digital and Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the changes would boost jobs, provide the community with more entertainment options, and build on efforts to help revitalise the night-time economy.

“We’ve listened to industry and removed outdated and unnecessary regulations. The new rules give businesses confidence and certainty that we are serious about boosting the 24-hour economy,” Mr Dominello said.

“The economy doesn’t go to sleep at night and neither should our laws. This is about making life easier for businesses, while also prioritising community safety.

“These changes will breathe new life into one of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic.”

Liquor reforms that begin today include:

Replacement of the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross licence freeze

  • The freeze on new liquor licences for hotels, registered clubs, nightclubs, and packaged liquor outlets has ended and is replaced with a new evidence-based approach to manage numbers of licensed premises in the precincts and the related risks.
  • The new approach is set out in a ‘Cumulative Impact Assessment’ which is available from the Liquor & Gaming NSW website.

Live music and entertainment changes

  • Liquor licensing decision-makers are required under NSW liquor laws to consider the need to support employment and other opportunities in the live music industry, and arts, tourism, or community and/or cultural sectors when determining licence applications.
  • NSW Councils have the option to take the lead in managing complaints aboutnoise from inside licensed premises in their local area, including entertainment sound.
  • Councils will also have new powers to establish ‘Special Entertainment Precincts’ where they adopt their own plans to encourage and manage live, amplified music.

Changes to small bars

  • Eligible small bar applicants with the necessary planning approvals can be issued with an interim approval to start trading as soon as they lodge their liquor licence application online.

Further information about the 24-hour economy liquor reforms is available.

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