Ms JO HAYLEN (Summer Hill) (16:09:53): I am pleased to speak in debate on the petition about Sydney's lockout laws tabled by the member for Sydney. This is actually the second time we have debated a petition calling on the Government to end the lockout laws, which shows the depth of community feeling about this issue and the need for change. This time, we have the benefit of the excellent findings of the Joint Select Committee on Sydney's Night Time Economy, which call on the Government to urgently repeal the laws in the CBD and Oxford Street, including the 1.30 a.m. lockout, the prohibition of shots and other certain liquors after, the prohibition of cocktails and drinks prepared onsite that contain 30 millilitres or more of spirits or liqueur, the restriction of glass in the late trading period, and the 3.00 a.m. cessation of service.
We do not yet have the official Government response to the inquiry's findings. However, the Premier has indicated she will introduce legislation to scrap the 1.30 a.m. lockout in the CBD by the end of the year, which would be an excellent move forward for Sydney and one that the Labor Opposition will absolutely support. Every person who signed this petition or made a submission to the inquiry can know that they have played a part in ending the lockouts. I take this opportunity to thank all the members of the joint committee, particularly the member for Sydney and Labor members the Hon. John Graham and the member for Fairfield. I also acknowledge and sincerely thank the more than 800 residents in my electorate who made individual submissions to the inquiry and who overwhelmingly called for the lockout laws to be scrapped.
The night-time economy is estimated to make up 17 per cent of the total New South Wales economy and supports up to 230,000 jobs. In fact, the inquiry heard that Sydney may be foregoing up to $16 billion by not taking full advantage of our night-time economy. Its value goes much deeper than the numbers, though. Our night‑time economy tells the story of our city and the eclectic, thriving culture that underpins it. The lockout laws curbed violence on the streets of Kings Cross, but we cannot ignore what we lost along the way: 270 venues closed and a 50 per cent drop in the number of live music venues across the city. In its evidence to the inquiry, MusicNSW said that:
… 85 per cent of people working in the industry agreed that the 2014 laws have directly impacted their music career, 75 per cent had a reduced number of gigs and 40 per cent reported reduced earnings per show over the last 5 years.
Sydney is a global city, blessed with a beautiful natural environment, world-class public services, iconic landmarks and a vibrant economy. But our best asset is our people. We are friendly, diverse, innovative and excited about the opportunities that are before us. We see that nowhere more clearly than in our cultural industries. It has been a really tough time for people working in areas impacted by the lockouts. So many jobs have been lost, including bar staff, bartenders, security guards, cleaners, food and retail workers, workers in hotels and accommodation, as well as taxi drivers and transport workers. Lifting the lockouts will give workers in those sectors a chance and ensure we can take full advantage of the economic benefits.
Sydneysiders have the right to enjoy themselves, and they have the right to do so safely. According toTime Out magazine, Sydney is now the tenth-worst city in its ranking of global cities. Melbourne beats us hands down now; it is in second place. Tourism remains a critically important part of our economy. When people visit Sydney, I want them to speak about more than just our sparkling harbour—as beautiful as it is. I want them to enjoy our unique live music. I want them to delight in our world-class restaurants, catch a show, enjoy a drink in a small bar tucked down a lane, or dance the whole night away if that is what that they want to do. I want them to know that there is dependable and accessible public transport to get them home safely, and I want them to know that they can enjoy our city. I want young people who live in Sydney to know that there are jobs to support them and that Sydney is a fun and vibrant place to live.
As well as winding back the lockout laws in the CBD, the inquiry's report makes a number of vital recommendations that will support businesses in the sector. It recommends adopting the Inner West Council's live music venues policy. It recommends that the planning department investigate introducing the agent of change principle. It recommends appointing a Minister with responsibility for the night-time economy. If adopted, these recommendations will move us forward, strengthen the economy and support jobs. Finally, I thank the many Sydneysiders who have worked so hard to bring us to this point. When the lockouts are rolled back, it will be to their credit. Labor knows we need a holistic approach to restore our night-time economy and support the workers who depend on it. It is time to bring Sydney back, end the lockouts and make our city safe and fun again.