In TheShout’s first installment of citizen journalism, Newcastle Hotelier Eamonn McCabe argues against a recent decision to limit late night trading in the NSW city and issues a call for Australian hoteliers to perish or unite.

“It is us today. It will be you tomorrow”
This quote is borrowed from former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie and is relevant to the NSW Liquor Administration Board’s (LAB) recent decision to restrict the trading conditions and hours of 15 Newcastle hotels.

The LAB’s decision does not address the core issues facing Newcastle and indeed most modern cities. The majority of anti-social behaviour and violence takes place on the streets, by people who are not hotel patrons.

Prosecution of drinking in public places is not enforced in NSW. The Local Government Act must be amended to give meaning to Alcohol Free Zones and areas. The State Government has sole responsibility here.

CCTV is not correctly utilised in the state. These installations must be monitored at peak times, with incidents reported to a dedicated response unit in general duties policing. This is a role of local council and State Government.

High visibility policing is required on the street, not inside hotels. The police must use their newly acquired Criminal Infringement Notices (CIN) powers to issue infringement notices to people involved in anti-social behaviour on the street. This is the responsibility of the police hierarchy and the NSW Police Minister.

It is requisite to develop transport polices that matches supply to demand. Manned and secure bus hubs will ensure speedy and orderly departures from entertainment precincts. Secure taxi ranks provide an environment that attract cabs to pick up passengers. The Ministry of Transport and the Taxi Council must take ownership here.

A long-term approach to educate all people not only of their rights but their responsibilities is required. Hotels are highly regulated bodies. There needs to be a development of acceptance of responsibility by individuals.

The LAB decision given to Newcastle seeks to absolve State Government of all responsibility to our city. We are fighting their moves. The entire industry needs to embrace this fight. “It is us today. It will be you tomorrow.”

Eamonn McCabe is licensee of the Crown and Anchor Hotel and spokesperson for Newcastle Alive, a coalition of 15 Newcastle hotels fighting what is so far a losing battle to regain extended trading in the city.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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