Matt Barrie, the chief executive of Freelancer.com, criticised the “moral crusade” by successive governments that led to the death of a lively and cheerful nightlife that Sydney once boasted of. Barrie’s 8,400 -ord feature posted on LinkedIn, titled “Would The Last Person in Sydney Please Turn The Lights Out,” attracted more than 200,000 readers in less than 24 hours and was ranked No.1 on LinkedIn and most read on Sydney’s Reddit site.
The essay is a take on Sydney’s dwindling nightlife, which Barrie believes has turned the city into an “international joke.” He shared a few grim statistics that showed how closing down of popular bars and clubs affected Sydney’s nightlife, which rendered the once crowded night time areas of the city, the strongholds of property developers.
“Every week, another venue or restaurant closes. The soul of the city has been destroyed,” Barrie wrote in his essay, as quoted by the Australian Financial Review. “Kings Cross, in particular, has been decimated so badly that it will never, ever, come back as an entertainment precinct.”
Barrie’s post has attracted the attention of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews who compared the two states saying while Sydney has lock-out laws, Victoria boasts of 24-hour public transport. According to Barrie, the article has hit a nerve that tapped an “extremely strong undercurrent of public sentiment.”
“No matter what happens, the city has turned into Detroit,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying. “Even if they dropped the laws, the damage has been done. This is what happens when a state gets taken over by a cabal of zealots whose only policy is religious ideology.”
He wrote that a series of alcohol regulations have damaged a significant part of inner-Sydney nightlife that that once was. He blamed the lockout laws for loss of jobs as well as hundreds of millions of dollars from the local economy.
“Sydney, once the best city in the world, has become an international joke thanks to the NSW Liberal government,” he wrote.