A parliamentary inquiry into Sydney’s lockout laws has confirmed a sad (but unsurprising) trend: Sydney is losing licensed venues faster than it’s gaining them. As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, since the city’s lockout laws––regulations around licensing designed to make the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross safer––were introduced in 2014, 418 licensed premises in the area have closed. In the same period of time, only 242 new licenses were granted, meaning that the area has netted a loss of 176 venues in less than four years. Accounting for a four-year period, that means that the city's been losing a venue every eight days
John Graham, a member of the parliamentary inquiry, told the SMH that the NSW state government are well behind schedule in terms of completing the recommendations set out by their Night Time Economy Taskforce, with only five of 25 recommendations completed. According to Graham, all recommendations were supposed to be completed by now.
Is this new report surprising? Not really. But it’s a gut-punch regardless; just because we knew this was happening, it still hurts to see the facts laid out in bare numbers. The NSW government doesn’t care about live music, and it’s destroying Sydney’s nightlife. NSW’s government is spending only $1 million on music this financial year, a fifth of what Victoria is spending. Sydney might have a great scene, but the lack of governmental investment could spell its demise.
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