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NSW lockout law review report delayed

AAP logoAAP 31/08/2016

The long-awaited review into NSW's lockout laws has been delayed following a landmark court decision which deemed live music venues exempt from the controversial legislation.

The government says the former High Court judge in charge of the review, Justice Ian Callinan, has requested an extension so he can examine more evidence following last week's ruling.

The NSW Supreme Court found that the secretary of the state's Justice Department did not have the authority to "declare" a city venue subject to the 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks rules.

The legal challenge was launched by CBD bar, The Smoking Panda, which had been initially exempt from the laws as it is in a "tourism accommodation establishment" area.

That exemption was cancelled after a Liquor and Gaming NSW (LGNSW) investigation found non-hotel guests visiting the bar.

In her judgement, Justice Natalie Adams declared lockout legislation clauses were "not a proper exercise of the regulation-making power conferred upon the governor" and LGNSW had failed to define the "tourism accommodation establishment" exemption properly.

Smoking Panda and seven more Sydney CBD venues including strip club Men's Gallery are no longer subject to the laws, but it's believed the government will appeal the decision.

The review of the legislation will be handed to the government on September 13, a spokesman for Deputy Premier and Arts Minister Troy Grant told AAP on Wednesday.

Mr Callinan is awaiting further evidence and examining the court decision, he said.

"Following consideration by cabinet, Mr Callinan's report will be publicly released and the NSW Government will respond to the findings in due course," the spokesman said in a statement.

The government has come under pressure over its strict venue lockout laws, which were introduced in 2014 to cut alcohol-fuelled violence following a string of one-punch deaths.

Opponents say the laws have killed Sydney's once-vibrant nightlife and many venues have been forced to close.

A poll of 1600 voters this week found the majority of those surveyed, including three-quarters of young people, support the existing laws.

Only one-quarter of voters were also opposed to extending the lockouts statewide, the Fairfax-commissioned ReachTEL poll found.

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