Newcastle’s 24 hour economy to kick in with relaxation of trading restrictions

April 13, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Newcastle lockout laws and trading hour restrictions will be lifted from the middle of the year as the city boosts its local economy via night-time trading.

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said, “Newcastle is an engine room of our state’s economy and it’s not fair to leave the city’s night life stuck in 2008.”

The move to lift trading restrictions follows a successful six-month trial for participating small bars and restaurants.

“Special licence conditions, including late-night lockouts, were imposed on 14 high risk pubs 13 years ago to curb alcohol related violence. Many of the conditions were later extended to more pubs in Hamilton,” Mr Dominello said.

“The proposed stage two trial will again need to be a joint effort by the government, NSW Police, council and industry.”

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said, “We learned from the trial that allowing small bars to open until 2.00am and restaurants until midnight improved trade significantly.

“Not only does this help create local jobs at a time when Newcastle needs it most, but it has led to a livelier city centre after dark.”

All this being said Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott emphasised that community safety, law and order remain paramount.

“This is not by any means a green light for the criminal element to return to Newcastle.We will closely monitor changes in the area and will not accept a return to any sort of violence,” he said.

The second stage of the trial includes the relaxation of:

  • Lockout conditions, so patrons can enter pubs after 1.00am until closing time
  • Liquor trading hours to be extended from 3am to 3.30am, provided development consent is in place to allow the venue to stay open
  • Restrictions to be lifted on the types of drinks that may be served, allowing higher strength cocktails, neat spirits and shooters.

Liquor & Gaming NSW will invite hotels and public entertainment venues to participate in stage two of the trial, expected to begin mid-year and run for 12 months. Relaxed conditions for small bars and restaurants will remain in place until January next year.

A comprehensive evaluation of Stage 2 of the trial to examine the impacts on Newcastle’s night-time economy and the community will be completed by September 2022.

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