Critics say the relaxed lockout laws are still too stringent to promote a thriving night life.
Critics say the relaxed lockout laws are still too stringent to promote a thriving night life. Paul Donaldson BUN250416BUNDAWN1

NSW lightly loosens liquor, lockout laws

BOTTLE shops will be allowed to remain open for an extra hour next year as the New South Wales Government loosens its controversial lock-out laws.

Premier Mike Baird announced liquor stores' current mandatory 10pm closing time would be extended to 11pm across the state, also applying it to pub take-away alcohol sales and home deliveries.

Punters in Sydney's CBD and Kings Cross will be allowed an extra half hour of drinking, with the 1.30am lockout stretched to 2am and last drinks being shifted from 3am to 3.30am.

The changes will only apply to venues that offer "genuine live entertainment, live performances or art and cultural events".

The changes, which will be implemented over a two-year trial, were some of the key recommendations High Court Judge Ian Callinan made when he delivered a review of the laws in September.

"Mr Callinan found that the lockout laws introduced in February 2014 have resulted in 'much safer, quieter and cleaner areas'," Mr Baird said.

"The extension of take-away and home delivery alcohol sales and the later lockout times will be in place by January to allow the community and businesses to capitalise over the busy summer period."

Greens MP Jenny Leong said the half-hour change to Sydney's lockout laws would do little to encourage a thriving night life.

"The fault with the lockouts is that they were - and are - a blanket punishment," she said.

"Instead of dealing with the people or the venues that were the problem, the lockouts punished everybody in our city who wanted to be out late and have fun.

"The changes announced today will have a minor impact on a limited number of venues.

"This isn't the boost to Sydney's night-time culture and economy that our musos, creatives, shift-workers, and all-night party-goers know we need."

"You can dance to a DJ, a jukebox or a band. You can be entertained by a drag queen, a performance poet or a heavy metal covers band.

"It's laughable to think that a government bureaucrat will be responsible for determining what live entertainment is."