Revellers at Byron Bay, including these ‘schoolies’ pictured in 2009, would be prevented from roaming between venues after 1am under the council’s proposed ‘lock-out’.
Revellers at Byron Bay, including these ‘schoolies’ pictured in 2009, would be prevented from roaming between venues after 1am under the council’s proposed ‘lock-out’. Jay Cronan

Byron council votes for 'lock-out'

THE Byron Shire Council has unanimously supported a trial 1am ‘lock-out’ of licensed premises at Byron Bay in a bid to curb alcohol-related violence in the town.

But it now will be up to the State Government to determine if the trial goes ahead.

Mayor Jan Barham, who pushed for the trial aimed at stopping people roaming from venue to venue after 1am, is hopeful the Government and the Byron Bay Liquor Accord will support it for the benefit of the whole community.

However, the accord has already indicated it is opposed to the trial, with president Luke Thomas questioning whether it would have any impact on late-night crime.

Cr Barham based her call for a 1am ‘lock-out’ on the success of a similar trial at Newcastle, which reportedly resulted in a big drop in assaults after dark.

She told last Thursday’s council meeting that one of the most important things a tourist destination like Byron Bay could offer was ‘safety’, a key issue when it came to attracting the ‘right sort of visitor’.

The reality was that there were people who feared for their safety when on the streets of the town at 2am, she said. The trial ‘lock-out’ was a step forward in making Byron Bay a safer place.

Cr Barham said dealing with alcohol-related crime was one of the most important issues for the town and she had received widespread support for the trial.

“The best and most important message we can send out is we are doing everything we can for the safety of the whole community,” she said.

Cr Diane Woods said she hoped the trial would make a difference.

She didn’t expect it would have any impact on the turnover of licensed premises in Byron Bay.

Cr Simon Richardson said the trial wouldn’t close any venue and signalled an intent by the community to reclaim the streets.

The trial has been also backed by local emergency services workers, who have commended the council for its action in fighting alcohol-related violence and crime.

NSW Police Association vice-president Scott Weber said there was impressive evidence that by simply reducing the trading hours of licensed premises there was a significant reduction in alcohol-related assaults.

Mr Weber said more councils should take a stance against the affects of ‘boozed-fuelled violence’ in their area.



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