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Baird yet to commit to changing lockouts

AAP logoAAP 12/09/2016

NSW Premier Mike Baird won't commit to changing Sydney's lockout laws after a long-awaited review called for the rules to be watered down.

The independent report, handed to the state government on Tuesday, recommended a two-year trial in which the 1.30am lockout and 3am last drinks measures are relaxed for live entertainment venues.

Easing those restrictions by half-an-hour could help restore the vibrancy and lost employment opportunities in the precincts affected by the laws, former High Court judge Ian Callinan said in his report.

Mr Baird said he was pleased the review had confirmed the laws had reduced alcohol-related violence in the CBD and Kings Cross.

"What was overcrowded and violent has become safe and secure and that's an incredible moment," he told reporters in Sydney.

'"But at the same time, the concerns on the vibrancy of the nightlife, there have been some recommendations and obviously we'll listen and respond to those," he said.

The government would also consult with Mr Callinan and the industry to clarify a clear definition of live entertainment venues, including whether it should include recorded music or DJs, Mr Baird said.

"I think it is a very considered and detailed report and obviously we will take that on board and respond in the next few weeks," he said.

The previous O'Farrell government introduced the hotly-debated laws in 2014 following a series of fatal one-punch attacks.

One of the restrictions included the state-wide ban of takeaway alcohol by 10pm, a measure Mr Callinan said should be pushed back by an hour as it makes little or no contribution to violence or anti-social behaviour.

Deputy Premier Troy Grant acknowledged the recommendation would "bring some relief to what's been an economic impact in the bush".

Prominent pro-lockout supporters, the Last Drinks Coalition, says it will campaign against any moves to weaken lock-out laws and is pushing for the laws to be rolled out across the state.

But Keep Sydney Open campaigner Tyson Koh says he was disappointed the Callinan review did not provide more alternative solutions to the lockouts.

Easing restrictions on live music venues was a step in the right direction but don't go far enough, he said.

"We shouldn't have to settle for lock-them-up-and-throw-away-the-key policy solutions, when only an hour's flight away Melbourne has created a safe and dynamic nightlife with a cool-headed smart policy," Mr Koh said in a statement.

The lockout trial extension of "a mere 30 minutes is not enough to save our reputation and businesses on the brink", he said.

The group will hold a mass anti-lockout rally on Sunday.

A similar protest earlier this year attracted more than 10,000 people.

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