Mayor calls for earlier last drinks

Police speaking with youths in a Byron Bay park.
Police speaking with youths in a Byron Bay park. Patrick Gorbunovs

BYRON Shire mayor Jan Barham has renewed calls for an earlier "last drinks" lockout to the pubs and clubs of Byron Bay to stem the town's rising tide of late-night alcohol-related violence.

Yet the council's unanimous motion to introduce a trial of the lockout last February continues to be met with opposition by the Byron Bay Liquor Accord.

Chairperson of the Liquor Accord and general manager of the Beach Hotel Elkie van Haandel disputed an earlier lockout would improve the current situation.

"I don't think an earlier lockout will help in any way," she said.

"Having so many patrons on the streets at 1am won't actually address the issue of alcohol-related violence, in fact it may increase the incidences."

The earlier lockout proposal would see patrons refused entry to Byron venues after 1am instead of 2am.

Tweed-Byron police superintendent Stuart Wilkins said he supported the introduction of an earlier lockout, but added it was only one of many measures that were needed.

In February the town was rated the fourth-worst suburb for alcohol-related violence after Sydney CBD, Kings Cross and Newcastle.

The weekend before last there were seven alcohol-related assaults in Byron, creating havoc for police.

Cr. Barham said after Newcastle implemented a 1pm lockout there was a 50% reduction in alcohol-related street violence.

But that was part of a host of strategies, one of which was the introduction of CCTV cameras, a move that Byron council voted down this month.

Cr Barham expressed disappointment with the pubs and clubs' refusal to trial the measure.

"They weren't willing to even trial it."

Topics:  alcohol byron bay byron bay liquor accord jan barham lockout

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