Music

Please Read This Unbelievable Objection To A 24-Hour Hungry Jacks In Kings Cross

Residents say the now empty suburb is "flourishing" thanks to the lockout laws.

lockout laws sydney inquiry

When the Sydney lockout laws were first introduced in February 2014, no suburb was hit as hard as Kings Cross.

Before the laws, Kings Cross was one of the city’s most beloved bohemian nightspots — a bustling centre of culture, art and music, lit up by the famous Coca Cola sign. But, now, five years after the laws came into effect, over 418 licensed venues have closed throughout the Cross and Sydney CBD. Foot traffic in the area has dropped by 80 percent.

And the key issue that the lockout laws were designed to fight — alcohol-indebted violence — hasn’t been solved, but instead merely displaced, sent out into “fringe suburbs” according to a report from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

Yet, despite the cultural decimation wrought upon the Cross by the lockout laws, some of the suburb’s residents claim that it is “flourishing”.

The comment comes as part of one of a number of open letters submitted to the City of Sydney by residents designed to protest against a local Hungry Jacks having its hours extended. Many of the letters come from residents arguing that the extended hours will result in “unsanitary behaviour”, noise and mismanagement of waste.

But one letter in particular, from the strata board of Potts Point’s Omnia building (if that rings a bell, that’s the apartment building caught up in the recent noise complaints debacle) specifically cites the lockout laws as changing the character of the suburb.

According to their letter obtained by Junkee, the laws were “designed to mitigate and reduce the number of patrons drinking in Kings Cross/Potts Point and also reduce late night trading.” It’s worth noting that this statement actually goes against the government’s own justification for the laws.

As a result of the laws, the residents argue “the area has flourished with new retail outlets and significantly less violence.”

The nature of the “flourishing” of Kings Cross is up for debate, of course, but “significantly less violence” is a misleading claim — as experts have argued for many years, the suburb was already experiencing a downward trend in violent assaults.

The letter then goes on to celebrate the effects the laws have had on the nightlife, noting “there are now relatively few nearby late-night trading venues in the area.” The letter argues that when the Kings Cross 24-hour McDonald’s was granted its hour extension, that was in 1993, when “the area was primarily a late-night
district.”

As a result, the residents argue, “we live in a mixed residential area and not an entertainment precinct, despite the best attempts by vested interests to make us believe otherwise.” (The letter does not explain who these ‘vested interests’ might be.)

“We do not need more 24-hour food outlets in Kings Cross, as they are a reflection of what the area once was, not the reinvigorated and primarily residential area that it is now,” the letter concludes.

The residents claim to be a mix of “professionals and blue collar workers”. It is worth noting that the Omnia Building’s website boasts its “exclusivity”. Apartments tend to cost around the $2-3 million mark, although they can frequently go for around $7 million. The building’s most exclusive penthouse suite recently sold for $14.25 million to an undisclosed buyer.

Indeed, for all the letter’s claims of ‘vested interests’ trying to convince residents that Kings Cross has a history of nightlife and culture, it is important to remember that the Omnia strata board arguably has a vested interest of its own: retaining the value of multi-million dollar properties, at the expense of Sydney’s cultural life.