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Kings Cross under lockdown
Photograph: Maxim Boon

Last vestiges of Sydney's lockout laws finally scrapped

Sydney is embracing the 24-hour economy with the appointment of a 'night mayor'

Cassidy Knowlton
Written by
Cassidy Knowlton

For the first time since 2014, the entirety of Sydney will finally be free of nightlife-strangling lockout laws. 

The controversial laws were scrapped throughout most of the city in January 2020 but remained in place in Kings Cross, preventing venues from allowing punters in past 1.30am in that part of the city. Finally, seven years after the laws were enacted, they are now slated to be removed throughout the metropolis on March 8.

The changes were announced today by Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who said Kings Cross was now ready for nightlife revitalisation: “The precinct is now well positioned to continue to evolve into a vibrant lifestyle and cultural destination with a diverse mix of small bars, live music venues and restaurants.”

It's not the only investment in Sydney's nightlife announced today, with the revelation of just who will be taking up the brand-new position of Sydney's 'night mayor', or 24-hour economy commissioner. After much speculation, the person who will be taking up the appointment is none other than Time Out Australia managing director Michael Rodrigues. 

Time Out Australia’s Managing Director, Michael Rodrigues
Photograph: Daniel Boud

Rodrigues had been among many Sydney identities touted as candidates for the role and is also the chairman of industry advocacy group the Night Time Industries Association, which was instrumental in lobbying for both the repeal of Sydney's lockout laws and the creation of the 24-hour economy strategy

“I’m excited about the upcoming opportunities and to champion the 24-hour economy strategy as we deliver a nightlife that’ll sit alongside New York, London and Tokyo,” Rodrigues says. "As our city rebuilds... the 24-hour economy strategy is central to NSW's economic and social recovery."

In addition to the creation of the 24-hour economy commissioner role, Sydney's 24-hour economy strategy includes extending trading hours for hospitality, retail and cultural venues; expanding late-night transport options; reforming liquor licensing laws; and reviewing noise restrictions for live music venues. 

Rodrigues, who was recently awarded Mumbrella Publish Leader of the Year 2020 for his stewardship of Time Out Australia, will be leaving the publication in March to take up his new position. 

“I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life’s work of helping to create vibrant and diverse cities,” says Rodrigues. “I’d like to thank the many Time Out stakeholders who have supported us and me personally over the years. 

“I leave behind a passionate and united group of publishing professionals whose dedication has made Time Out the indispensable guide to going out in Australia, and an award-winning local business.”

Can't wait for the 24-hour strategy to be implemented to get amongst some live music? Here's where you can hear live music in Sydney right now.

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