I acknowledge that there are respected voices in the community who would prefer the 2008 Newcastle Solution to remain in place.
There are also respected voices in the community who would like Newcastle to open up in a safe and responsible way.
READ MORE: The case against easing lockout laws
In these circumstances I believe a trial is the best way forward.
Six months ago, with bipartisan support, we commenced a trial in relation to small bars.
In that period, on the negative, there was one noise complaint.
However on the positive, good businesses were given an opportunity to provide more dining experiences for good people and more jobs were created.
By any objective measure it was an outstanding success.
For this reason, again with bipartisan support, we have decided to extend the trial for a further 12 months. This extension will allow hotels to apply to be part of it.
This trial will essentially mirror the easing of restrictions we have seen across the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross areas.
Alongside the critical police analysis, a condition of entry into the trial will be to provide key metrics such as jobs created and patron attendance.
This data could also be used by the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority in the event that any business makes an application for a permanent change to licence conditions.
Make no mistake, police and Liquor and Gaming will continue to have a strong presence on the ground.
The beauty of a trial is that if the circumstances warrant, a venue can be immediately removed from it.
In this way rather than punishing everyone with blanket restrictions, we permit good operators and remove the bad ones.
Modern regulation is smarter regulation.
In 2021 it is far better to pull out the weeds, than concrete the lawn.
Good, honest businesses - and the people of Newcastle - deserve this approach.
When the Newcastle Solution was put in place in 2008, not even the NSW Police Northern Region Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell, who was responsible for its implementation, believed that it would still be in place after 13 years.
And 13 years is a timeframe which points to another justification for the trial: in 2008 the world and Newcastle was a very different place to what it is today.
Our smart phone today is a PhD student compared to the preschooler of 2008. Watches in 2008 could tell you the time. In 2021, smartwatches can also tell you your heart rate. Banking has moved online.
The use of cash is in decline. In 2008, no one could have imagined the impact of social media - good or bad - a decade on.
The list of seismic changes over the past decade goes on and on.
The mighty city of Newcastle has also significantly changed.
The revitalisation around the Newcastle light rail. The diversity in housing, with more apartment living.
This change will continue at pace, with the post-COVID reality of more people working from home.
Many Sydneysiders are now moving to places like Newcastle for a lifestyle change.
Thankfully, the City of Newcastle council is a smart progressive council.
It is keeping up with the times. It has already installed smart lighting in the main streets.
We have a technology maturity today that simply did not exist a decade ago. This technology provides further assurance of community safety allowing the people of Newcastle to enjoy a diverse and responsible night-time economy.
Smart cities around the world have this in place and it works.
Newcastle is a smart city and it can work here also.
If Sydney is the halfback then Newcastle is the five-eighth.
They are both stars in their own right and are critical to the success of Team NSW.
If Sydney is the halfback then Newcastle is the five-eighth. They are both stars in their own right and are critical to the success of Team NSW. As we emerge from the shadows of COVID, we need to ensure our economy is firing on all cylinders.
As we emerge from the shadows of COVID, we need to ensure our economy is firing on all cylinders.
Newcastle is so important to our collective success.
With the appropriate settings in place, we can carefully extend the trial to ensure that good businesses can provide employment and diversity to the good people of Newcastle.
The trial is indeed worth a shot.
Victor Dominello is the NSW Minister for Customer Services
IN THE NEWS:
- Dodge Ram pick-up truck goes up in flames on Scenic Drive in Merewether
- Toohey's News Podcast: A heathy and happy Jarrod Mullen is tackling his new life head on
- Lay days called at Newcastle WSL event
- Six taken to hospital after Nelson Bay Road crash
- Crakanthorp backs city to behave when lockout laws lifted
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: