The NSW State Government has scrapped its liquor licence freeze for pubs, clubs and bottle shops in Sydney’s CBD and Kings Cross.
The decision is part of a push to reinvigorate the city’s night-time economy once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
The changes take effect on December 1, and will allow venues to apply to open without having to purchase a liquor licence from an existing venue.
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said: “These changes will kick-start a new era in Sydney’s 24-hour economy.
“In some CBD locations, this will be the first time in 11 years that applications for new venues will be considered.”
New operators will now be able to apply to Liquor and Gaming NSW for a liquor licence, costing around $2800 for a full hotel licence, $560 for a club, and almost $800 for a nightclub.
The government will allow applications for new licences following public consultation and is preparing interim guidelines for existing businesses.
“The interim guidelines are being driven by relevant evidence and data, including the latest geospatial tools showing the density of licensed premises as well as hotspots for alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour,” Dominello said.
Night Time Industries Association welcomes NSW Government Liquor Act
The NTIA said it welcomds the announcement from NSW Government regarding the thawing of the liquor freeze in the Sydney CBD.
Michael Rodrigues, Chair of the NTIA said: “The liquor freeze is one of a number of outdated restrictions still in place from another era. The NTIA has been calling for its removal since the NSW Government Music and Arts Economy inquiry in 2018.
“The after effects of COVID are going to be felt most acutely in the nation’s CBDs for a number of reasons. Firstly the CBDs are dependent on mass transit which will have restrictions on numbers for some time and which consumers have reservations in using. Many people will also want to remain working from home. This will have a material impact on the business lunch and after work trade on which our CBDs many venues are dependent.
“We would encourage the NSW Government to continue to think boldly about Sydney’s future nightlife. And that must include the removal of the lockout laws which are still in place in Kings Cross.”
Freeze on altering licence conditions ends
In addition to ending the liquor licence freeze, the NSW Government has also scrapped restrictions on altering licence conditions in the CBD and Kings Cross on June 1.
Venues can now apply to vary their licence by extending trading hours and expanding licensed boundaries to increase overall patron capacity.
Kings Cross licensees may also apply to move a licence for relevant premises to the CBD Entertainment precinct if they wish to relocate to that area.
Pictured main: Darlo Bar.