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BY CHARLOTTE GRIEVE

Mayoral candidate Angela Vithoulkas wants to see the winding back of the lock out laws that have been blamed for the mass closures of businesses across the city.

“What we have noticed is that the lock out laws have shown that a black and white approach and a knee jerk reaction has had a compounded impact on a local economy.”

If elected, Sydney Matters would appoint a Night Mayor to work with residents, businesses, the City of Sydney, the State Government and its agencies to “reinvigorate the night-time economy.”

“We need live music venues, we need our mojo back. We’ve lost that ‘let’s have fun’ feeling and why shouldn’t we have fun?” Clr Vithoulkas told City Hub.

Since the controversial lockout laws were introduced in 2014, levels of violence throughout the city are on the rise. According to the NSW Bureau of Crime statistics, over the past 24 months incidents of sexual assault have risen by 18.3 per cent in the city precinct.

Although the issue of policing is traditionally a state government responsibility, Clr Vithoulkas has called for the increase in police presence on streets throughout the night.

She advocates liaising with local businesses to employ a “user pay” model. This is a pricing approach whereby venue owners can foot the bill for additional police services during peak times.

“Police have different powers to a security guard and can obviously be a more solid presence and businesses are willing to pay. We’re not looking at imposing more costs on the residents of ratepayers,” she said.

Town Hall under Clr Vithoulkas would collaborate with Macquarie Street on other issues such as affordable public housing and reversing cut backs on social infrastructures.

Clr Vithoulkas has plans to make use of the Council’s property assets on Oxford Street.

“The City of Sydney has assets that can be looked at and developed. We’ve got a lot of property on Oxford Street. Why are we just leaving that empty or derelict? Why not convert it is as fast as possible into social housing?” Clr Vithoulkas told City Hub.

She believes in developing public-private partnerships to create more social housing, not less; criticising the State Government’s plan to demolish homes and businesses in Waterloo to make way for the metro.

“People thrown out of their home. Compulsorily acquired properties. So a whole other generation of families and business owners are going to be affected. No one seems to be commenting on that. No one seems to be commenting on the cost of installing infrastructure,” she said.