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Newy’s lockout laws could soon be a thing of the past


Newcastle’s lockout laws could soon be a thing of the past.

It follows the release of findings from a major Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) trial, which examined options for boosting the city’s nightlife.

As a result, proposals to relax licence conditions for hotels, bars and nightclubs will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The first stage of the pilot was undertaken from October 2020 to March 2021 and involved extended trading hours and removal of drink restrictions after 10pm for restaurants and smaller establishments.

Key conclusions, from the evaluation report, include:

  • The majority of participating venues indicated the relaxed licensing conditions positively impacted their patronage, business turnover and employment opportunities
  • There was a 40% increase in total spending on dining and entertainment across the Newcastle LGA compared to 2019, the most recent year not impacted by COVID restrictions
  • While there was an overall rise in the number of assaults and incidents of affray at the participating venues during the trial compared to previous years, the majority recorded no increases. Compared to 2008 when the conditions were imposed, there has been significant declines in levels of offences across all venues  

The second phase of the trial also involved hotels, bars and nightclubs,

Conclusions included:

  • Removal of 1am and 1.30am lockout restrictions
  • Extension of liquor trading hours until 3.30am on any night venues are normally authorised to sell liquor until at least 2.30am
  • Easing of restrictions on the types of drinks that may be served, allowing higher strength cocktails, neat spirits and shooters

ILGA chairperson Caroline Lamb said a wide range of data, as well as community and stakeholder views, had been taken on board from stage two of the trial, which involved 21 venues.

“The evaluation report includes feedback from Newcastle premises, residents and various stakeholders as well as patronage, noise complaints and alcohol-related offence data,” she explained.

“After carefully considering the findings, ILGA has resolved the trial conditions should continue for participating venues until 30 June to give them time to apply for changes to liquor licences.

“Because there were wide variations in levels of alcohol-related offences among the 21 venues in the trial, it’s vital that any proposals to relax conditions are considered individually, with a strong focus on compliance, safety and avoiding any unacceptable risks to the community.”

The evaluation report for stage two of the trial is available at

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