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NSW Premier Mike Baird is getting slammed for defending lockouts

NSW Premier Mike Baird has issued a long statement on Facebook, tackling what he describes as the “growing hysteria” about lockout laws – and the people of Sydney aren’t happy.

“The main complaints [about lockouts],” Baird wrote, “seem to be that you can’t drink till dawn anymore and you can’t impulse-buy a bottle of white after 10pm. I understand that this presents an inconvenience. Some say this makes us an international embarrassment. Except, assaults are down by 42.2 per cent. And there is nothing embarrassing about that.”

Baird quotes 2015 statistics from BOCSAR (the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research) that assaults in the Sydney CBD are down 42%. He also says that the aim of the lockouts is to “redistribute nightlife across the city,” something that’s been  achieved because “the number of small bars in Sydney has more than doubled in the same time period”. inthemix has reached out to City of Sydney for clarification. “These laws are about the moral obligation we have to protect innocent people from drunken violence,” Baird writes.

But the Facebook masses don’t see it that way, as Sydney music industry figures and general punters have taken to the comments in their thousands to voice their anger.

“Mike, we all have the goal of making our streets safer, but unfortunately you are touting a curfew as the only way to achieve a reduction in anti-social behaviour,” wrote collective Keep Sydney Open. “A 42% drop in assaults is pathetic when measured against the harm done to jobs, business, the live music scene and freedom.”

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“Mike you have completely missed the point, time to wake up mate,” added Tom Huggett of local party crew and label Astral People, while Spice Cellar founder Murat Kilic quipped, “Cool story Mike, but can you explain why your mates at Star City (and potentially Crown) are excluded from these awesome laws? Just curious.”

Local dance acts Flight Facilities and Nina Las Vegas also chimed in.

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Meanwhile, punter Taylor Harris had the succinct message, “You’re a muppet.” Read Mike Baird’s full post below.

Mike Baird’s full Facebook post

Let’s start with a statistic about Sydney’s nightlife that matters: alcohol related assaults have decreased by 42.2 per cent in the CBD since we introduced the “lock-out laws”.

And they’re down by over 60 per cent in Kings Cross.

But… didn’t we achieve this by shutting down the whole city and killing its nightlife?

Well, one last statistic: the number of small bars in Sydney has more than doubled in the same time period.

There has been a growing hysteria this week about nightlife in Sydney.

The main complaints seem to be that you can’t drink till dawn any more and you can’t impulse-buy a bottle of white after 10pm.

I understand that this presents an inconvenience. Some say this makes us an international embarrassment.

Except, assaults are down by 42.2 per cent.

And there is nothing embarrassing about that.

From the outset, these laws have been about fixing a serious problem. Violence had spiralled out of control, people were literally being punched to death in the city, and there were city streets too dangerous to stroll down on a Friday night. The community was rightly outraged. I was personally outraged. I met face to face with the families of victims. You don’t need to see that sort of pain too often to realise there is a problem that needs fixing. And the Government was determined to act.

We introduced laws to curb violence and to eliminate drinking ghettos by redistributing the nightlife across the city, making the whole city more vibrant.

Now, some have suggested these laws are really about moralising. They are right. These laws are about the moral obligation we have to protect innocent people from drunken violence.

Doctors right across the city are now telling us that they are seeing far less emergency room presentations on the weekends. Transport workers are telling us that the trains are safer. Small bars and restaurants are opening across Sydney. And residents across the city, particularly women, are telling us they feel safer walking home at night.

At this stage, some of the evidence is anecdotal. But lots of hard data is starting to come in. And it is all telling a similar story.

Over the coming months a detailed review into the effects of the lock-out laws will be undertaken. I await this work with interest. But as I’ve said before, it is going to take a lot for me to change my mind on a policy that is so clearly improving this city.

Now some, who wish to define our city by one street on Kings Cross, make the hysterical claim that Sydney is dead.

They couldn’t be more wrong. This is the greatest city in the world and it is now safer and more vibrant than ever.

Long Live Sydney.”