Relaxed liquor licence conditions for some Newcastle venues
Relaxed liquor licence conditions will continue for 15 of the Newcastle licensed venues that participated in a trial examining options for boosting the city’s nightlife.
The relaxed conditions include the removal of 1am and 1:30am lockout restrictions and the easing of restrictions on the types of drinks that may be served.
The Newcastle area has been subject to more stringent trading conditions than those typically found elsewhere in NSW.
Stage One of the Newcastle Liquor Licence Trial started in October 2020 and looked at the effect of eased licensing conditions in some low-risk venues such as small bars and restaurants, while Stage Two kicked off in October 2021 and evaluated the effectiveness of more relaxed rules in hotels, general bars and public entertainment establishments, involving 21 venues.
After carefully considering the findings of the trial, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) decided that participating venues could apply to have their liquor licence conditions relaxed permanently.
Because the results were not uniform, all proposals submitted to ILGA were considered on a case-by-case basis, with a strong focus on compliance, safety and avoiding any unacceptable risks to the community.
Some of the venues applied for relaxed conditions to be removed from their licences permanently but were not fully approved. During the trial, most participating venues indicated that the relaxed licensing conditions positively impacted their patronage, business turnover and employment opportunities.
Minister for the Arts, Minister for Music and the Night-time Economy, and Minister for Jobs and Tourism John Graham said:
“The Newcastle area is home to an incredible collection of venues, artists and nightlife businesses that make it such a vibrant place after dark. It is good to see those evidence-based changes that will allow Newcastle to remain vibrant and safe later into the night.”
Minister for Gaming and Racing David Harris said:
“Relaxing the licence conditions for some venues supports the evolution of Newcastle’s nightlife into a safe, vibrant, fun and creative environment.
“Newcastle has undergone significant change and we must change with it, to continue the cultural and economic revitalisation of the region.
“The trial has shown that venues that improve patron safety and take action to reduce alcohol-related violence can have their licence conditions relaxed and contribute to a thriving, safe, inclusive night-time economy for everyone.”
Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp said:
“Newcastle has changed significantly since 2008 and taking a one size fits all approach to liquor laws in the city was outdated approach.
“I am pleased to see venues with a good compliance history that promote patron safety are being rewarded with the eased conditions from the trial applied to their licenses. This will further help grow the night-time economy in Newcastle.”