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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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SEPP amendment for Newcastle

The City of Newcastle Council and Liquor and Gaming NSW held a six-month trial of extended later trading hours for small bars and restaurants to support local venues and rejuvenate the night time economy.


The trial ran from 1 October 2020 until 31 March 2021 and 24 venues registered for the trial, and 18 venues participated.


The department has made a further amendment to Council’s Local Environmental Plan to allow participating venues to continue to trade for the later hours. This will allow Council and Liquor and Gaming NSW to evaluate data collected from the venues, patrons and other sources such as the Police to determine the success of the trial. Council will then consult the community and decide on the next steps.


The amendment will apply from 1 April 2021 until 31 January 2022. During this time venues can apply to Council to extend the hours in their current development consents. No additional venues will be able to use the later trading hours.


Council will determine the appropriate planning pathway if it decides to make any permanent changes for other venues.


Please see the Council’s website for more information about the community survey, evaluation and next steps for the Newcastle After Dark Strategy.


Frequently asked questions

State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) amendments to the Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012 (LEP), to facilitate the Newcastle night time economy in small bars and restaurants.

The department was asked by Council to make a further amendment to the Newcastle LEP to allow the 24 venues to trial later hours, to keep later trading while Council and Liquor and Gaming NSW evaluates the trial after it concluded on 31 March 2021. 


The amendment allows the participating venues to continue to use the exempt development provision in the Newcastle LEP and operate in accordance with the later trading hours permitted in the Liquor Act 2007 for their licence type from 1 April 2021 until 31 January 2022.


During this time, venues will decide whether to apply to Council to modify the operating hours in their development consents. 


The amendment will lapse after 31 January 2022, after which the venues must trade according to the hours in their development consent.

In July 2020, the department was asked by Council to facilitate an amendment to the Newcastle LEP to temporarily align trading hours with those permitted in the Liquor Act 2007 for certain licence types.


Council and Liquor and Gaming NSW identified and invited eligible restaurants (with an on-premise restaurant licence) and small bars (with a small bar licence) in the suburbs of Newcastle, Newcastle East, Newcastle West, and Cooks Hill to participate in a six-month trial of later trading hours. Larger venues (such as clubs and hotels) and certain ‘high risk’ venues were excluded.


The department exhibited an Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) for the SEPP amendment to the Newcastle LEP from 4 September until 20 September 2020. The majority of submissions supported the amendment to allow the six-month trial.


An exempt development provision was inserted into the Newcastle LEP to allow extended trading hours for participating venues for six months from 1 October 2020 to 31 March 2021, to coincide with the dates of the trial. After the six months, the 2020 amendment ceased to have effect. 

The later trading hours reflects the standard trading hours for small bars with a small bar licence and restaurants with an on-premise licence allowed under the Liquor Act 2007. The amendment bridges the gap between what is specified as the trading (or operating hours) for the venue as a condition of their development consent and the later standard trading hours in the Liquor Act. This means that as in the Liquor Act 2007:

  • A participating small bar can trade until 2am
  • A participating restaurant can trade until midnight (Monday – Saturday) or until 10pm on Sunday
  • Normal public holiday restrictions apply.

Twenty-four small bars and restaurants opted to participate in the trial and are listed in the Newcastle LEP. For more details about the venues please contact Council or Liquor and Gaming NSW


For more information

  • If you have any questions about the trial, please email Council.
  • For liquor licence related matters, please email Liquor and Gaming NSW. Please use the subject line: ‘Newcastle liquor trial’.
  • For more information on the SEPP amendment, please email the Codes team with the subject line ‘Newcastle SEPP amendment’.


Image banner: Coal & Cedar, Newcastle, a participating bar in the trial. Credit: Destination NSW

Page last updated: 01/04/2021