Mr Ayres said the decision to increase police numbers was an operational matter for NSW Police, but added: “I expect, like any Friday or Saturday night, people will be able to see a visible police presence.”
A NSW Police spokeswoman said the force “remains committed to ensuring the safety and security of the community in responding to alcohol-related crime”.
The NSW government last year announced the changes would remove the 1.30am last entry for all venues in Sydney’s CBD including Oxford Street. But the laws will remain in place in Kings Cross.
Last drinks will be served at 3.30am – in line with live music venues in Sydney as well as cities such as Los Angeles, New York and Singapore.
Bottleshops will also be able to stay open across NSW until midnight from Monday to Saturday and 11pm on Sunday, after the state government adopted many of the recommendations of the parliamentary inquiry into Sydney’s night-time economy.
Small bars across NSW will be permitted to increase their patron capacity from 100 to 120.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in November she wanted revellers to be safe and did not want a return of drunken violence on the streets that prompted the introduction of the laws in 2014.
“This isn’t about flicking a switch and going back to Sydney five years ago, no-one wants to go back to the way it was five years ago,” Mr Ayres said.
The relaxation of the laws will be reviewed in 12 months. The decision to scrap the lockout laws, following a parliamentary inquiry into Sydney’s night-time economy, has been hotly debated.
A NSW Ambulance spokesman said it would continue to deploy resources “as normal”, but St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst is expecting a rise in alcohol-related injuries owing to the increased trading hours.
“It might not happen overnight, but the evidence on providing greater access to alcohol leading to more alcohol-related harms suggests that’s what we will see in the coming weeks and months,” hospital spokesman David Faktor said.
“As we made clear when opposing these increased trading hours, we are concerned we will see increases in serious head injuries stemming from assaults right through to more minor injuries from falls by revellers who will now be drinking for longer and will be more intoxicated.”
Mr Faktor said medical professionals were particularly worried that extended bottle shop hours across the state would trigger an increase in alcohol-related domestic violence and abuse.
“NSW has a big problem with domestic and family violence, particularly in the bush, and so it’s health facilities across the state that will likely be experiencing more presentations stemming from domestic assaults exacerbated by alcohol,” he said.
Megan Gorrey is the Urban Affairs reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.
Andrew Taylor is a Senior Reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.