Byron move to lock out drinkers
BYRON Shire mayor Cr Jan Barham is to push for a trial 1am ‘lock-out’ for licensed premises at Byron Bay in a bid to reduce alcohol-related violence in the town.
Under such a ‘lock-out’, no one would be allowed into licensed premises after 1am.
Cr Barham said she planned to move a notice of motion at the April 22 meeting of the council in which she would seek State Government approval for the trial.
It follows a call in Sydney last week by a coalition of emergency workers for tough new restrictions on alcohol trading to tackle what they described as an ‘epidemic’ of alcohol-fuelled violence across the State.
Launching a ‘Last Drinks’ campaign, Police Association vice-president Scott Weber said police, doctors, nurses and ambulance officers were sick of dealing with drunk and aggressive offenders.
Mr Weber said frontline workers were being abused, intimidated, threatened, assaulted and injured in the course of their duty.
He said there was ‘impressive’ evidence that simply reducing the trading hours of licensed premises could achieve significant reductions in the number of alcohol-related assaults.
Restrictions imposed in 2008 by the NSW Liquor Administration Board on 14 licensed premises in Newcastle included a 1am ‘lock-out’, restrictions on shot sales and the bringing forward of closing times from 5am to 3am.
The restrictions had produced ‘spectacular’ results, with assaults after dark falling by 29 per cent, Mr Weber said.
Cr Barham said Byron Bay had a problem with alcohol-related violence and the figures were ‘bad’.
She said stories of violence reflected badly on the town.
The results at Newcastle had been ‘fantastic’ and it would be worthwhile doing a trial of the 1am ‘lock-out’ at Byron Bay to see whether the same results could be achieved there, she said.
“If we can make it safer for everyone, we should look at it,” Cr Barham said.
The Byron Bay Liquor Accord, which represents licensed outlets in the town, has yet to comment on the proposal.