It didn't get a lot of fanfare, but NSW Parliament has just passed a pretty important piece of legislation, which will change the face of the city we love. The Liquor Amendment (24-hour Economy) Bill 2020 is designed to remove some of the hurdles that have crippled Sydney's nighttime economy for decades.
The law removes red tape and unnecessary costs from venues, making it easier for venues to have live music and allowing minors into small bars in certain circumstances, thus making them a more welcoming environment for families.
Investment and tourism minister Stuart Ayers said the changes would help boost Sydney's nightlife and economy at a time when they certainly needed the help. “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,” Ayres said.
Mike Rodrigues, chairman of advocacy group the Night Time Industries Association, which had fought for the changes contained in the new law, says it's a fantastic start for Sydney, but there's more work to be done. "The new legislation marks the end of the beginning rather than the beginning of the end," he says. "We still have a lot to do to support a sector reeling from a year of bushfires, lockdowns and recession." Rodrigues is also managing director of Time Out Australia.
Sydney's nightlife and potential to trade 24 hours a day has been hobbled by successive government policy, with devastating lockout laws forcing many of Sydney's businesses to stop late-night operations for six years before those laws were (mostly) repealed in January of this year. Since that watershed moment, the NSW government's position on Sydney's nightlife has done an almost total about-face, with several other initiatives now in the works to rehabilitate Sydney's night-time economy. These include major upgrades to lighting infrastructure, all-night public transport, and the appointment of a 'Night Mayor' who will be a figurehead for the city's late-night industries and a champion for the wide array of good times that Sydneysiders will be able to enjoy after dark in the coming months and years.
Celebrate by kicking up your heels. Here is where you can see live music in Sydney right now.