Keep Sydney Open was formed to support nightlife in the belief that a city needs to encourage connection between people, not actively diminish it. But through our mission to fight the 'lockout laws', we discovered that they were only a symptom of a deep-rooted sickness in NSW politics. Be it greed, incompetence or skewed priorities at odds with community sentiment — our leaders have lost touch and are no longer fit for purpose.
Politicians need to make bold decisions for our city that benefit everyone, not just a select few. They need to govern in the interests of fairness, freedom, respect and inclusivity while putting community interests on a level playing field with big business.
Like you, we now know they don’t. We’re in good company.
How do we fix this mess?
Repealing the lockouts is just the beginning. Sydney has so much potential, so much to offer. We need policies that stimulate not suffocate; that foster a more vibrant, diverse and inclusive nightlife. One that is less dependent on alcohol and less distorted by pokies.
- Replace lockouts with liquor licensing that is targeted, promotes culture and safety, and penalises what we all want less of.
- A 24-hr urban transport system, the beating heart of a vibrant, diverse nightlife full of food, retail, culture and entertainment.
Targeted tax offsets to get live performance and our cultural ecosystem pumping.
Stop subsidising pokies and investing in the destruction of our cultural landscape and lives. $13b over 20 years is enough. Funding for clubs needs to be decoupled from pokies. Priorities redirected to the social housing crisis, problem gambling and ailing performance sectors.
- Abolish ridiculous regulation and outdated planning rules that weigh on activity and creativity.
- Halt cultural divestment and cultural vandalism. Prevent culture being undervalued, ignored, priced out and sold off. As custodians of our unique heritage — this Government has failed miserably. Rules around cultural heritage must be brought into line with community expectations.
How do we stop it from ever happening again?
The lockouts, #SaveThePowerhouse, #stadiumsplurge and #westconnex are symptoms of the same sickness: vested interests, a culture of secrecy and impunity, and a blatant disregard for community consultation and due process must give way to transparency, inclusiveness and accountability. A permanent solution needs an overhaul of our system of governance:
Funding security and true independence for a stronger ICAC so it can hold our politicians accountable without fear, favour or intimidation.
Close the gaping holes in the NSW Lobbyist Code that allow politicians and staffers to exploit their privileged position and information for personal gain.
Overhaul the way policy and regulation is made in NSW with evidence-based decision making that embraces data, analytics and technology across all aspects of planning and design. The Greiner Review offers a timely blueprint. Emerging entertainment precincts in the inner West are an important test case.
A police force that works with venues and the community to minimise harm.
- A dedicated NSW Government office that serves as a focal point for leadership, coordination and accountability for live music and the night time economy and a Ministry of the Arts, Culture and Entertainment for a seat in cabinet.