The State Member for Lake Macquarie Greg Piper says he does not agree with NSW Labor and the NSW Liberal Party’s commitments to maintain Sydney’s lock-out laws, despite supporting the introduction of the measures in 2014.
“At the time we were having a real problem and it was a legitimate tool to use,” he said. “But not one that can’t be adjusted.”
While Mr Piper said he was not “campaigning” to end the measures, the independent MP said the option of relaxing the laws should be on the table, as well as other policies that create “cultural change”.
“I don’t agree that we should not at least consider easing the restrictions,” Mr Piper said.
“I think you should always be prepared to review measures. If things have improved there are other measures you could be using as well as easing the original measures back.
“If people start to play up and if the industry doesn’t play ball I have no problem using the big stick.”
He said he believed more was needed for a long-term solution to alcohol abuse and violence in both Sydney and Newcastle.
“You don’t just do it by prohibition and big sticks. You might use that but you also educate and look for cultural change, I haven’t really seen that.
“It’s a dangerous proposition just to use restrictive practices to head off every problem we’ve got,” he said.
“Our youth and our society are heartily sick of being told we’re doing this for your own good all the time.”
Leader of the Labor Party in NSW Michael Daley has said he is opposed to relaxing the lock-out laws.
However, Mr Daley has stated he is open to some “practical measures”, such as rewarding good venues, if Labor gets into government next year.