BY ISABEL EVERETT
Lockout laws are set to be lifted across the board in Newcastle under a 12 month trial.
Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello made the announcement at Newcastle Bar, Blue Kahuans on Wednesday.
It comes after restrictions were lifted in Sydney’s Kings Cross earlier in March.
The trial which kicks of May, will see patrons able to enter licensed premises right until closing time, with restrictions on liquor trading hours to be extended from 3.00am to 3.30am.
The sale of certain types of drinks, such as high strength cocktails and spirits will be lifted as well.
Upper House Member Mark Latham says the trial is a chance to rebuild Newcastle’s night time economy.
“Like Sydney and Kings Cross have had their lockout conditions lifted, Newcastle will be able to have a successful, high employment night time economy.”
The trial follows a one in October 2020 which saw more than two dozen small bars and restaurants in Newcastle able to extend their trading hours, and serve drinks which have more than 30ml of alcohol.
Mr Latham, who recently re-located to Newcastle, says the trial will gather evidence.
“Obviously we don’t want any public safety problems.”
“What I don’t like about the advocates of lockdown, they’re basically saying unlike the rest of the State, these lockdowns have to be here based on the basis that Novacastrians are thugs. They’re not,” Mr Latham said.
Mr Latham says the trial would build up tourism jobs.
“The city is on the launching pad of huge success and economic boom and it’s got to have mature and successful tourism and night time economy.”
“And the lifting of provisions for twelve months, it’s not permanent but for twelve months we’ll see how it goes, it’s got to be the start of a whole new economic environment and jobs boom for Newcastle.”