Proposed Perth Lockout Laws Condemned

Published on and in X-Press Magazine (WA), May 2016


Perth music body WAM has slammed recent comments from the Australian Medical Association advocating for lockout laws to be implemented in the state following a brawl in Northbridge over the weekend.

The violent scene took place in the early hours of Sunday morning on the main strip of the WA entertainment hotspot which hosts a number of live music venues like The Bird and Jimmy’s Den.

WAM CEO Mike Harris told lockout laws in the area would “decimate an entertainment district” and likely cause more problems.

“It’s quite lazy of the AMA because if they took any notice of that particular bit of footage, it’s got nothing to do with venues what so ever,” Harris said.

“That has to do with anti-social behaviour and a bunch of kids out on the streets, bored with nothing to do.

“They’re just out looking for trouble, one way or another and lockouts won’t fix that, except within six to 12 months they’ll be less people on the streets of Northbridge because venues will start to struggle and it will shutdown one of the only entertainment districts we have left.”

Speaking with 6PR radio, AMA WA president Michael Gannon said lockout laws would not have an impact on the city’s vibrancy.

“It is not draconian, wowserism or threatening in any way the vibrancy of a city to say that by 3am it might be time to consider heading for your cot,” Gannon said.

“The evidence exists that the longer the liquor venues are open, the more trouble you see.”

Meanwhile, despite reported violence in Northbridge, a report from WA Police issued in March showed the area was safer now than it was a decade ago, with Premier Colin Barnett citing events like Fringe World Festival for bringing it to life.

Key areas of crime were reportedly down since 2008, with assaults down 36 per cent, threatening behaviour down 73 per cent and property damage down 48 per cent.

“These figures are particularly encouraging considering the substantial population growth we have had since 2008,” Police Minister Liza Harvey said of the report.

Sydney’s lockout laws have caused a wealth of issues for the NSW entertainment industry – including a number of high-profile venue closures since being implemented – and see venues unable to let new patrons in after 1:30am and alcohol stop being served by 3am.