Last week in Parliament question time, I asked Premier O'Farrell to extend the current freeze on liquor licenses in problem hot spots in Sydney for an additional two years. I also wrote to the Premier, Minister Souris, Minister Hazzard and Minister Gallacher requesting they consider this extension.
The liquor freeze was introduced a year ago as part of the Hassle Free Nights program and it has been effective in assisting the City, Police and the State Government manage the high concentration of licensed premises in these areas. The City's own consultation about our late night policy is showing that Sydneysiders are overwhelmingly calling for better transport, a more diverse mix of venues and later retail trade to improve Sydney's night life.
They have told the sydneyyoursay.com website - the City's first ever online consultation forum - they want to see alternatives to alcohol consumption, solutions to combat antisocial behaviour and more interesting and varied choices. The site attracted close to 4,000 visitors in less than 3 weeks, with over 200 people contributing ideas, agreeing with or commenting on the ideas of others.
We've had ideas pouring in from a diverse mix of residents, workers, visitors and businesses and this is key to what we're doing because we want a late night economy that works for everyone. Community forums are also now currently underway to discuss more localised issues in each of the city villages.
What we are hearing from residents so far is that they think the precincts already saturated with licensed venues need to be better managed and activation should be encouraged in new locations such as Walsh Bay, Glebe, and Newtown.
I encourage you to join the discussion at one of the three residents' forums being held over the next two weeks. If you are unable to attend, you can join the active online discussion at www.sydneyyoursay.com.au or on twitter using the hash tag #sydnightlife
The results of the consultation will be collated into a report and presented to Councillors in June. The Draft Night Time City Policy is expected in late 2011.
Residents Forums, all held between 6pm and 8pm:
Monday 30 May: Surry Hills Library, 405 Crown Street, Surry Hills for Darlinghurst, Surry Hills and Paddington residents;
Tuesday 31 May: The Vanguard, 42 King Street, Newtown for Newtown, Glebe, Darlington, Chippendale and Erskineville residents;
Thursday 2 June: Alexandria Hotel, corner of Henderson Road & Garden Street, Alexandria, for residents of Redfern, Zetland, Waterloo, Alexandria, Rosebery and Green Square residents.
- Information about residents' forums and to register: www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/Business/CityEconomy/LateNightTrading.asp
- Join the discussion online: www.sydneyyoursay.com.au