Services: "Freeze liquor licences"

EMERGENCY services workers are calling on the NSW Government to freeze new liquor licences on the Northern Rivers until an inquiry into alcohol outlet density is complete.

NSW Police Association president Scott Weber said it would be irresponsible to grant new licences on the Northern Rivers until the results of the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing's study into the relationship between liquor licence density and alcohol related violence is made public.

"A freeze is already in place for new licences in areas of the Sydney CBD - that should be extended to the Northern Rivers and other areas," he said.

"It doesn't make sense to introduce more liquor licences now when there's the potential that the research will show that we're putting the community at risk by granting more and more licences in the area.

"The community cost of alcohol-related violence is huge, and the strain it puts on our emergency services is huge.

"We should be doing everything it takes to reduce the problem."

Mr Weber said the Last Drinks coalition, representing NSW emergency service workers including doctors, police, nurses and paramedics were also calling for increased restrictions to be put on licensed venues including reduced trading hours, limits on high alcohol content drinks and lock-outs of licensed venues.

"Emergency service workers are sick and tired of being used as punching bags by boozed-up thugs."

An Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing spokesman said a research project - the cumulative impact of licensed premises in NSW - will be used to assess liquor applications when it is completed later this year.

The spokesman failed to confirm or deny whether restrictions would be put on issuing liquor licences on the Northern Rivers.



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