Media Release: “Lockout” Law Evaluation

Release date: 10.30am, Thursday 16 April 2015 and revised 29 April 2015

Full report: Lockouts and last drinks: The impact of the January 2014 liquor licence reforms on assaults in NSW, Australia (pdf 3.1Mb)

Reforms to the NSW Liquor Act introduced following the death of Daniel Christie appear to have substantially reduced the incidence of assault in the Kings Cross and Sydney CBD entertainment precincts.

The changes introduced by the Liquor Amendment Act (2014) included:

  • 1.30am lockouts at hotels, registered clubs, nightclubs and karaoke bars in two designated areas, known respectively as the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct and Kings Cross Precinct;
  • 3.00am cessation of alcohol service in venues in these Precincts;
  • A freeze on new liquor licences and approvals for existing licences across the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct and continuation of the existing freeze in the Kings Cross Precinct;
  • A ban on takeaway alcohol sales after 10.00pm across NSW;
  • The extension of temporary and long-term banning orders issued to designated ‘trouble-makers’ to prevent them entering most licensed premises in the Kings Cross and Sydney CBD entertainment precincts

The Bureau found that the reforms were associated with an immediate and substantial reduction in assault in Kings Cross (down 32%) and a less immediate but substantial and perhaps ongoing reduction in assault in the Sydney CBD (down 26%).

Most areas adjacent to the Kings Cross or Sydney CBD entertainment precincts or within easy reach of these precincts showed no increase in assault.

The number of assaults around The Star casino increased but the change was not statistically significant.

Commenting on the findings, the director of the Bureau, Dr Don Weatherburn, said that, although the new liquor laws appear to have reduced the incidence of assault, some important questions remained unanswered.

It is not yet clear whether the reduction in assault was due to a fall in alcohol consumption or a change in the number of visitors to Kings Cross and/or the Sydney CBD entertainment precincts or both.

We will have a clearer picture of exactly what caused the fall in assaults once we have had time to examine the precise timing and location of the change.

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn (02) 8346 1100
Copies of the report: