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Sydney to stay open later for Mardi Gras as ‘lockout laws’ are relaxed

Written by gaytourism

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Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. | Photo: File

Sydney will relax its infamous ‘lockout laws’ ahead of next week’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade and party.

The state New South Wales (NSW) Government announced it will relax the rules around the city’s gay strip and Mardi Gras parade route, Oxford Street.

Normally people are not allowed to enter new venues after 1.30am or 2am. But those restrictions will not apply on parade night. But venues will still have to stop serving alcohol at 3am or 3.30am if its a live music venue.

The Minister for Liquor and Racing, Paul Toole said Mardi Gras injected $40 million into the NSW economy each year.

‘Relaxing the requirements will give people more time to make their way to surrounding venues and events when the parade finishes,’ he said.

NSW introduced the strict laws in certain parts of Sydney in 2014 to try and stop alcohol fuelled violence.

Opponents of the lockout laws argued they were an ‘unfair imposition’ on people in Sydney.

‘Crucial live music venues in Sydney have closed, several hundred jobs have been lost and the magic around our city is fading,’ said the Keep Sydney Open movement.

Sister of anti-marriage equality PM takes credit

Sydney City Councillor and lesbian sister of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott claimed credit for the relaxation.

Forster married her long-time girlfriend earlier this year as Abbott – who opposed same-sex marriage – watched on.

‘I wrote to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian several weeks ago suggesting that relaxing the lockouts for this important occasion would be a special gesture of goodwill for the LGBTIQ community, many members of which still hold raw memories of the terrible events which surrounded the first Mardi Gras in 1978,’ Forster wrote on her Facebook page.

‘Confirmation that the government has agreed to the exemption is also particularly poignant given the community is celebrating the historic passing of Australia’s same-sex marriage legislation on 7 December 2017.’

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