Liquor Act 1982 to July 2008: a court based system regulates alcohol. Courts grant licences, punish breaches and allow appeals. Using the review provisions in this act, residents introduced the successful Newcastle Restricted Access Hours trial. (Introduced in April 2008 and still current.) Those inside can stay until closing time.

The industry lobby cries this is anti-competitive and adds 'red tape' and wins the public policy debate. Research notes links between AHA donations and policy.

2004: Responsible service of alcohol (RSA) training introduced. Despite mandatory training the number of assaults has continued to increase.

2006: Police ‘data linking’ program identifies problematic hotels. Liking data figures are not publically available. In 2008 legislative amendment creates special conditions for “declared premises”. Figures are released as the “100 worst pubs” list. The official list is the “top 48” voilent premises.

Today, BOCSAR data figures linking assaults to premises are used for Level 1 (over 19 violent incidents/year) or Level 2 (12 to 18 incidents). Information is restricted to about 30 venues.

2006: Liquor outlet concentrations and outlet density is critical in terms of minimising alcohol-related harm in neighbourhoods. (BOCSAR Report, April 2006.)

2006: Kings Cross and other city areas are declared saturated with Licenced Premises. (City of Sydney, 16 Oct 2006)

2007: Kings Cross Liquor Accord says “Kings Cross is a market-driven entertainment zone, and it is unreasonable to restrict development”.

2007: New Liquor Act (from July 2008): an administrative system granting licences and dealing with disciplinary complaints — the Casino Liquor and Gaming Control Authority — replaces the judicial system. Proceedings for offences are heard in the Local Court. Enforcement is by police and inspectors employed by the department.

Council has a referral role in the liquor licence application process. Council may be involved in two stages: preparing a Community Impact Statement, and during the assessment of a liquor licence application. A Community Impact Statement is required only for some types of liquor licence applications.

2007: Small Bars legislation: ‘small’ bars (up to 120 patrons) can serve alcohol without a license, and restaurants can serve alcohol without meals.

2007: Council introduces Late Night Trading precincts in Kings Cross, Darlinghurst and Oxford Street. (Late Night Trading DCP.) There is a rapid intensification of premises. Many appear in the 100 most violent venues list (2008).

2007: More than 1 in 7 assaults in NSW are in licensed venues in the city with 574 in Potts Point (which takes in Kings Cross) and 443 in Darlinghurst (lower Oxford Street precinct). Most alcohol related crime occurs directly outside of licensed premises. A concentration of premises leads to ‘bar hopping’ associated with heavy drinking.

2008 to present: Hundreds of extra police, including the Riot Squad and specialist licensing police, are regularly deployed on Friday and Saturday in the Extended Hours Trading areas. Traffic, intoxication and drug dealing is displaced into other areas.

2008: Premier Nathan Rees introduces special restrictions for a list of the top 48 hotels for assaults of a 100 most violent list. Penalties include 3am lockouts and serving alcohol in plastic cups after midnight

2009: Report into Cumulative Impact, Saturation and Density finds that alcohol-related crime rose significantly between 2001 and 2006. The increase was 40 per cent in Kings Cross and 20 per cent in Darlinghurst. NDARC is critical of the City’s trial controls regime and ‘diversity of service’ argument. The problem with alcohol is its availability. (NDARC for City of Sydney, May 2009)

2010: Council’s ignores the NDARC Report recommendations. (Feb 2010)  

2010 (December): Wilson Duque Castillo bashed to death by bar Security staff outside the Trademark Hotel, Darlinghurst Rd, KIngs Cross.

2012 (January): Three Strikes Offences Act gives powers to alter a hotel’s licence conditions, cancel or suspend licences for up to 12 months after three offences have been recorded. The Three Strikes system is so convoluted and complex it takes a mighty effort to have just 1strike registered against any venue. Currently there are 21 licensees fighting strikes in court.

Three Strikes register (accessed 19 May 2012) breached for Licensee permit intoxication on licensed premises: Kensington Bowling Club; Moama RSL & Citizens Club, Echuca; Woody's Surf Shack, Byron Bay; St Kilda Hotel, Armidale; Shellharbour Workers Club and Belmore Hotel, Maitland.

2012 (March): The Late Night Trading DCP is incorporated into the new City Plan. Residential amenity is removed from former mixed use zonings.

Zoning Conflict: a well-documented planning conflict exists with the new extended hours trading (euphemistically called the “late night economy”) encouraged under a DCP with a trial system giving priority to alcohol interests. After midnight these areas are a mosh-pit of 25,000 screaming, drunk suburban kids (some say 30,000).

2012 (May): Clover Moore’s Newsletter declares Kings Cross a weekend “special event precinct” — like the footy grand final or New Year every weekend.

2012 (July):  Thomas Kelly killed in Victoria Street outside the Goldfish Bar.

2013, December: Bada Bing Nightclub on Darlinghurst Road stripped of all-night trading licence.

2014 (21 January): Premier O'Farrell's announces plans to force lockouts to CBD and Kings Cross pubs after 1.30am and stop the sale of alcohol after 3am.

Premier O'Farrell announcement at:

2014 (24 February): After years of violence on our streets, the NSW Government trial of modest 1.30am lockout and 3am last drinks commences. The laws are aimed at reducing alcohol-related violence in Sydney’s CBD and Kings Cross. Measures mean no shots after 10:00pm, no new customers after 1:30am and no alcohol served after 3:00am. That is, there is a small two hour closing window.

2014, 4 June: Resident groups praise new alcohol laws – Wentworth Courier. Helen Crossing said the new laws had “calming, quietening effect”. Jo Holder said “I don’t think Kings Cross has been shut down; I think Kings Cross has been rejuvenated.”

Kings Cross has seen a huge 50% reduction in violent assaults. Police, doctors and nurses all hail it a success, and residents report a newfound safety and order in our neighbourhood. BOCSAR will undertake a review in 2-years being the minimum estimate to obtain reliable data.

By contrast, the Australian Hotels Association through their pubs, clubs, venues and perhaps some candidates, are pressuring to end the lockouts, a move that will see a return to round-the-clock 24-hour boozing and bring the cycle of violence onto our streets again.

2014, July   – ID scanners commence operation. 

2014, October: Bourbon Hotel and former Swans Club to be sold.

2014, December: Lockout laws lifted for New Year’s Eve in Sydney.

2015, 12 Jan: Announcement by Minister for Alcohol of an early Baird Government review of Lockout laws dismays one-punch victim’s family.

2015, 13 January: Press conference outside St Vincent's Hospital where Health professionals, police advocates and anti-alcohol campaigners have slammed a possible early review by the New South Wales government into its controversial lockout laws.

2015, 12 May: Joffrey Van Asten says his patrons are at ease, more polite and in greater number in the post-lockout Kings Cross. Cafe and restaurant owners praise Kings Cross lockouts as trade spikes on clean streets, Daily Telegraph

2015, April: A Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) report showed an immediate and substantial reduction in assault in Kings Cross (down 32%).

Assaults in Kings Cross and Sydney CBD drop after year of liquor law reforms, The Guardian.

2015, 13 April: “The Bourbon… is likely to be converted to apartments”, Iris Capital opts for Bourbon in Kings Cross, Australian Financial Review

2015, 13 January: Advocates attack plans to review Sydney lockout laws, SBS News and Lockout laws: early Baird review dismays one-punch victim’s family – Sydney Morning Herald, 12 Jan 2015

2015, 20 Nov: Proof transcript of Senate’s Economic Reference Committee enquiry into Personal Choice and Community Impacts
Two members of 2011RA testified before the Committee re the benefits of the lockout/last drinks laws in the Kings Cross area (see pp. 30-38)

2015, 16 April: Assaults in Kings Cross and Sydney CBD drop after year of liquor law reforms – The Guardian: A Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) report showed “an immediate and substantial reduction in assault in Kings Cross (down 32%)”.

2015, 10 Feb: Lockout advocate urges community to stand firm, Tony Brown, the Newcastle lawyer, who pioneered the alcohol lockout laws ... Community engagement can defeat the power of the liquor industry ... Tony Brown tells Laura Corrigan about the personal cost of his activism. Read more:

2016, 10 February: Two years on frontline experts say NSW’s liquor laws have made a profound difference with no deaths and few serious injuries, St Vincents Hospital

2016, 11 Feb: Former High Court judge Ian Callinan QC has been appointed to oversee a review into Sydney's laws (implemented on 24 Feb 2014) restricting venues in Kings Cross, Darling Harbour, The Rocks and parts of the CBD. The measures were implemented in response to fatal one-punch attacks. The Callinan Review set up to "provide an independent, open and transparent assessment of the state's liquor laws, focusing on the facts, to advise the NSW Government on the future of these laws in NSW’. The review's terms of reference include examination of the impacts on alcohol-related violence and other harms and impacts on business, patrons and community amenity and a review of alcohol take-away hours.

2016, 21 March: Dr Anthony Grabs, SBS TV, 'The Loop', Public Health benefits St Vincents Hospital Emergency Dept (serving KX and the CBD) has analysed figures for facial / jaw fracture show pre-lockouts 145 patients; 2 years after lock-outs 58 patients. (.) We need more analysis of the Impact of hours of take away sales to 10pm across NSW.

2016, 21 March: Ross Fitzgerald veteran alcohol policy analyst writes (SMH), “this modest 2 hour reduction in availability has reduced assaults in KX by 40% and in Sydney’s CBD by 20%.” Read more:

2016, March: Survey of New Businesses in Kings Cross shows increased number of new businesses opening  > Download as pdf

2016. April 4: Submission to Callinan Liquor Law review:

2016, 10 April: by Kirsty Needham, SMH, reveals that the author of anti-lockout blog that caused trolls to turn on Ralph Kelly worked for John Ibrahim's girlfriend. Blogger Chris Sinclair was the events manager for model Sarah Budge's Kings Cross venue Crane Bar when he started the anonymous blog 'Surely Not'.  Ibrahim operates Crane Bar in Bayswater Road KX. The bar adjoins World Bar - another vigorous anti-lockouts campaigner. Chris Sinclair’s anonymous blog alleged a conspiracy between the family of dead teenager Thomas Kelly and Crown Casino led to the lockout laws, and also attacks St Vincent's director of emergency Dr Gordian Fulde. The blog drove trolls to attack both Kelly and Fulde. The blog posts were copied extensively by Matt Barrie in his submission to the independent review into the lockout laws last week. Read more:

Read more:

2016, 16 April: Kirsty Needham, SMH, writes on links between libertarian ideologues Matt Barrie and Christopher Koch, and connections with the IPA also known as the Institute of Paid Advocacy. Matt Barrie runs a borderless labour outsourcing site. Barrie's tirades coincided with submissions to the Callinan Review, a NSW legislative review of the lockouts falling due. Another libertarian the Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm, initiated a "nanny state" inquiry in the Senate into the impact of alcohol restrictions on personal freedom. Coincidentally, Barrie quotes Leyonhjelm in his anti-lockout tirades and in a submission to the Callinan inquiry. Read more:

2016, 29 August: Majority of voters back broader lockout laws across NSW, poll shows – SMH “A majority of NSW voters say the … ‘lockout’ laws in Sydney’s centre should be extended across the state and three-quarters of young people support existing laws, an exclusive Fairfax poll has found.”

2016, September: Callinan Review of the 1.30am lockout and 3am last drinks measures is released. Ian Callinan considered more than 1,800 submissions and held almost 30 stakeholder sessions, including three roundtables into Sydney's night-time economy.The report, including its conclusions, is available at Liquor Law Review Report [PDF,1MB] and Liquor Law Review Report Volume 2 Ap​pendices [PDF, 6MB]. Or

2016, 14 December: Residents verdict on new liquor laws transform area for the better

2017, 24 May: Legislation governing the “3 Strikes Rule” removes the automatic nature of a first strike for a breach by a liquor venue and reduced the types of breaches attracting a strike. (Liquor Amendment (Reviews) Bill 2017). The changes, introduced with minimal notification to the public by Minister for Racing Paul Toole, give the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) authority to decide if a first strike — and subsequent strikes — are applied or not. Until now a strike would remain in place for three years. The changes will now permit a venue's licensee to appeal to ILGA after six months to have a strike removed for “good behaviour”. As well, the changes will also mean a strike will be attached to a venue's licensee instead of to the venue itself — further weakening the owner’s responsibility. In Kings Cross licencees may change like toilet paper. Why should motorists incur a fixed and non-negotiable penalty that lasts for three years and pub barons be exempt? ILGA is now a mere rubber-stamp entity which approves 100% of liquor licence applications, ignoring any objection from the Department of Health, Police and communities.

2017, 12 June, SMH: 'Advice kept secret for a year as pubs and clubs penalty scheme watered down', by Sean Nichols at

2017, 15 June, City Central: City of Sydney gives $75,000 ratepayer-funded grant to “improve nightlife in the city” by Ben Graham.       
2017, 15 June, The Shout: L&G NSW reviewing community view process – so onus is on potential applicants to provide community impact statements.
2017, 17 June: ‘Vancouver introduces Sydney-style lockout laws’
2017, 22 June, SMH: NSW Young Liberals launch fresh assault on NSW government over 'nanny state' lockout laws.
2017, 29 June, Bendigo Advertiser: The 2am lockout laws had improved safety in the Bendigo CBD…"   

2017, 30 June, ABC: “Communities losing ground in war against liquor giants.’ By Sophie Scott.

2019, 7 Feb: 2011 Residents Association Submission to City of Sydney re Sydney’s Late Night Trading – Draft Planning Controls

2018, 28 Mar: 2011 Residents Association Submission to Sydney City Council re late-night trading in Sydney

2019, 29 May: Cross party parliamentary committee Review of Sydney’s Night Time Economy announced by Premier Gladys Berejiklian.  To consult with key police, health, community, and entertainment and live music stakeholders.

2019, 30 May: Sydney's lockout laws under review - The World Today - ABC Radio – at

2019, 30 May: Don't lock out the facts on lockout laws: they've made this city safer by By Nadine Ezard in SMH at

More evidence:

Impacts of changes to trading hours of liquor licences on alcohol-related harm: a systematic review 2005–2015

Claire Wilkinson, Michael Livingston, Robin Room


A series of robust, well-designed studies from Australia demonstrate that reducing the hours during which on-premise alcohol outlets can sell alcohol late at night can substantially reduce rates of violence. Increasing trading hours tends to result in higher rates of harm, while restricting trading hours tends to reduce harm. The Australian studies are supported by research from Norway, Canada and the US, with the only exception being somewhat inconsistent findings from a relaxation of restrictions in England and Wales.36 The evidence of effectiveness is strong enough to consider restrictions on late-trading hours for bars and pubs as a key approach to reducing late-night violence in Australia.




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