Amid the controversy over Sydney’s lockout laws, a program that looked out for people at risk of harm in the city’s nightlife precincts more than proved its worth.
Processes of data collection and analysis being used to decide policy need to be as independent and transparent as possible, particularly on issues as contentious as Sydney’s lockout laws.
The collection and analysis of data used for making policy should be independent and open to ensure public trust in decision-making. The debate over alcohol licensing shows why this matters.
Fortitude Valley is unique in Australia for its concentration of live music venues, like The Valley Drive In, in one small neighbourhood.
The Valley Drive In/Facebook
The good news is that the growth of live music continued under Queensland’s liquor licensing reforms. The bad news is that venues rely on late-night alcohol sales to cover costs.
Keeping up appearances at the Gold Bar in Subiaco, Perth.
Paul j. Maginn
Ultimately, most regulatory interventions in nightlife precincts are about imposing particular ideas of social and moral order not only within these spaces but also in the city more broadly.
The controversial lockout laws were introduced in 2014 in inner Sydney to prevent alcohol-fuelled violence.
A new study exploring the number of alcohol-related injuries treated at Sydney emergency department has found the lockout seem to be having an impact.
The Sydney lockout laws have drawn a lot of protests.
Analysis of rents in Sydney shows that local residents are benefiting from the lockout laws, thanks to new entertainment hubs and nightlife.
In one regard, lockout laws have succeeded in decreasing crime. But take a step back to see a city-wide perspective, and there are many other issues to consider.
Policy changes such as the ‘lockout laws’ have had profound impacts on inner Sydney nightlife. Transport data help us see whether these have caused problems to spill over into neighbouring areas.
In Queensland, police can issue on-the-spot ten-day banning orders to patrons who engage in violent or anti-social behaviour in and around licensed venues.
Banning orders can encourage personal responsibility and demonstrate that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.
Sydney’s Kings Cross and CBD are safer as a result of the lockout measures, but it has come at a cost to the precincts’ ‘vibrancy’.
A review of Sydney’s lockout laws found the objective of reducing alcohol- and drug-related assaults and anti-social behaviour remain valid, and the measures introduced are achieving this.
A seemingly purified city is not necessarily a healthy or diverse one.
Heightening liquor regulation has for centuries been the immediate response of urban policymakers when confronted with people and behaviours deemed socially undesirable.
The regulation of drinking has helped create precisely the violent, misogynistic and law-breaking culture that it was intended to control.
John Brack/Wikimedia Commons
Since the earliest days of British colonisation, authorities have sought to limit the problems associated with alcohol by licensing its sale and limiting the times and places where it is drunk.
When public housing like the properties in Sydney’s Millers Point is privatised, it profoundly changes the social mix of the inner city to something much more homogenous.
The NSW government agenda would deny the ‘right to the city’, that network of diverse communities, practices and places which give rise to the convivial and inclusive potential of cities.