By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier
Sydney pubs continue to bear the brunt of the blame for alcohol-related violence on the streets, with lobbyists and mainstream media intensifying calls for tougher restrictions on venues.
Campaigning continues for 1.30am lock-outs and earlier closing times for venues, even though the most recent assault occurred at 9.15pm, and the most recent BOCSAR data shows that violence on licensed premises has decreased significantly in recent years.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and Hospitality Minister George Souris have reaffirmed that the ‘Newcastle solution’ is unsuited to Sydney and potentially damaging to the city’s international image, leading to accusations that the Government is in the pocket of the Australian Hotels Association.
Responding to the accusations, an AHA NSW spokesman told TheShout that the association remains intent on advocating evidence-based measures, not responding to demands based on anecdotal reports.
“Repeated accusations and comments bordering on defamation continue to cloud the debate,” he said.
“Since the State Government has taken office it has implemented the harshest liquor reforms in Australia – for example, the 3-strikes legislation can have a licence cancelled for relatively minor breaches.
“The AHA NSW has – and will continue – to advocate strategies that are based on relevant and sustained evidence, not knee-jerk reactions and sound bites alleging impropriety pushed by issues-based groups who won’t address the real problems facing the community.
“We continue to work with the NSW Government and the senior hierarchy of NSW Police to identify the real causes of violence and anti-social behaviour on our streets.”