Newcastle's lockout laws have been placed back on the agenda.
A NSW Parliamentary committee examining Sydney's "night-time economy" recommended on Monday that the NSW government consider reviewing Newcastle's licensing conditions.
It was the last of 40 recommendations that the committee made in a 126-page report, titled Sydney's Night-Time Economy.
The focus was clearly on Sydney, but it was notable that Newcastle was included at the report's end.
The committee acknowledged that the lockout laws introduced in Sydney CBD and Kings Cross in 2014 were originally called the "Newcastle Solution".
The full story: Review of Sydney lockout laws opens door to Newcastle changes
This committee noted that this solution helped break the cycle of anti-social behaviour and reduce violence in these areas.
However, it recommended that lockout laws be scrapped in Sydney's CBD. The Kings Cross laws would remain in place.
"As a result of the 2014 laws, Sydney has an under-performing night-time economy. Deloittes estimates that Sydney is foregoing $16 billion a year," the report said.
"The NSW Government and stakeholders now need to take proactive steps to revitalise Sydney's night-time economy."
The exact wording of the recommendation regarding Newcastle stated: "If the Sydney lockout reforms are successful, the NSW government should give consideration to a review of Newcastle liquor licensing conditions and working with Newcastle City Council to rejuvenate the night-time economy and its economic importance for the Hunter".
The committee was concerned that "the multi-billion dollar federal/state investment in Newcastle through outstanding projects like Honeysuckle and the city light rail has not yet realised the anticipated tourism and hospitality jobs in the night-time economy".
The report noted that restrictions and conditions were imposed on 14 licensed venues in Newcastle CBD in March 2008.
"These conditions were a result of a decision made by the Liquor Administration Board, following a series of complaints by NSW Police in July 2007," it said.
These complaints outlined violence and other anti-social behaviour, particularly during late-night trading. This was made worse by "patrons moving between venues and remaining outside in the streets".
In 2010, the laws were extended to six licensed premises in Hamilton.
The committee said the evidence it had received about the "impact of liquor licence restrictions on Sydney's night time economy" meant there "may be merit in the NSW government conducting a follow-up review of the current conditions in Newcastle".
The committee met informally with representatives from Newcastle City Council, NSW Police and the Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation.
Powerful forces sit on both sides of the debate into Newcastle's lockout laws. These laws now appear much less certain.
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