“There’s been a cultural shift in the city’s nightlife since 2014 and it’s time to look towards a bright, safe, diverse Sydney after dark,” Mr Ayres said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Sydney is Australia’s only truly global city and can evolve to embrace an economy which is cranking around the clock.”
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian in November announced the changes, which also remove restrictions on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glasses after midnight, and scrap the 10pm curfew on bottle shops.
The last drinks curfew has been extended by 30 minutes to 3.30am – an extension which goes against the 3am curfew recommended by doctors.
Health Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes warned the Berejiklian government had re-opened the “floodgates on Sydney’s rivers of grog”.
“Alcohol causes more harm to more Australians than any other drug,” Mr Hayes said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Without any doubt, there will be more people assaulted, more people hurt, and more lives damaged by winding back these sensible restrictions on the supply of alcohol at night.”
A global city reborn
The Sydney Business Chamber said the repeal of the lockout laws was an opportunity to begin restoring the city’s global standing by signalling the start of a sophisticated and vibrant night life.
“If Sydney is to maintain its place as a global city, government, business and the community need to work collaboratively to create a safe and diversified nightlife that doesn’t just revolve around drinking,” said Katherine O’Regan, executive director of the Sydney Business Chamber.
“Today’s repealing of the lockout laws is a rallying call for the beginning of a new world-class nightlife, making Sydney an attractive and inclusive after-dark destination with a range of entertainment activities and venues suitable for all ages.
“International news on the smoke haze has impacted the city’s reputation as a tourist destination so it’s vital we begin making Sydney an exciting after-dark destination to regain lost tourism, as well as revitalising the many businesses that have suffered over the past 4 years.”
The Australian Hotels Association in NSW said it was an “exciting time” for Sydney and encouraged everyone to work together to reinvigorate the city.
“I would like to remind all venue operators to continue to be vigilant at all times to properly assess people for signs of intoxication before allowing entry to licensed premises,” AHA NSW liquor and policing director John Green said in a statement on Tuesday.
The lockout laws have been lifted everywhere in the CBD except Kings Cross and will be reviewed in 2021.