By Clyde Mooney

Licensed premises cannot be held responsible for violence in Sydney's Kings Cross entertainment district, according to AHA NSW boss Paul Nicolaou, who has joined with a prominent Kings Cross publican in calling for greater CCTV coverage of the area and improved transport options.

In a frenetic week of media coverage following a fatal assault on teenager Thomas Kelly last Saturday night, blame has swiftly been apportioned to venues serving alcohol in the area.

But CEO of the AHA NSW, Paul Nicolaou, yesterday said inadequate CCTV coverage and transport options are the real cause of the problems.

"It has been too easy to simply blame licensed premises for too long without any attention being paid to the very obvious problems in places like Kings Cross – problems with late night transport, pre-fuelling and people mixing drugs with alcohol in particular," he said.

Today City of Sydney Council announced an action plan for Kings Cross including major event-style policing on Friday and Saturday nights, increased Council powers to limit licences and a range of new transport measure with 'sprint' bus services between the Cross and Town Hall.

Yesterday the City announced it would install within a month an additional six CCTV cameras it approved last March, taking the total for the area to nine. 

Andrew Gibbs, CEO of Solotel, proprietor of the Kings Cross Hotel, told TheShout that the problems in the area are all occurring outside licensed venues.

"There are no Kings Cross venues on Level one or Level two of the NSW violent venues list – this would indicate the problems in Kings Cross are not occurring within venues but on the streets.

"You always see a lot of underage kids on the streets, many of whom are obviously affected by alcohol or drugs.

"Transport options are at best poor, which leads to frustration and violence particularly at taxi ranks.

"The CCTV coverage in Kings Cross is very poor.  Police generally rely on footage from venues when investigating incidents that take place on the street."

In news just released, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore is meeting with Paul Nicolaou to discuss new solutions including the possible introduction of 24-hour transport.

The Shout Team

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

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1 Comment

  1. I agree with CEO of the AHA NSW, Paul Nicolaou comments that it is easy to blame licensed venues without paying attention to the very obvious problems outside licensed premises.
    Townsville, Fortitude Valley and Surface Paradise in QLD are at the very end stages of the Drink Safe Precinct Trails. From the trails there are very obvious problems which are not related to licensed venues. The information comes from the patron and publican surveys, statistic data collecting, feed back from Queensland Police, Queensland Ambulance, transport, community groups and licensed premises. And majority cannot be fixed because of the lack of funding provided by local, state and federal governments OR no bulls.
    And they are: no particular order
    1. transport:
    simply there is none or lack of late night services.
    2. public amenities:
    simply is none or lack of safe public amenities.
    3. lack of police:
    police are crying out loud for more resources and harsher penalties
    4. retail & retail advertising:
    open up every Thursday’s paper to find page after page of full page adverts advertising bulk, discounted alcohol exposing to persons under the age of 18. Retail are the biggest discounters of liquor and sell at cheaper price than licensed venue.
    5. pre-loading:
    survey from drink safe precinct indicates that a high percentage of persons consume average 6-10 alcohol beverages before they enter a licensed premise. The person is in an uncontrolled environment and no RSA in sight.
    6. education:
    there are NO or VERY LITTLE education in terms of drugs and alcohol in schools. No RSA training and no education on what are the responsibly of a licensed premise is. Major problem for licensed premises is to ask someone to leave as they have had to much to drink. Put simply people just DON’T KNOW THE LAW.
    7. drugs:
    a very high indication result from the survey said people knew of persons who consumed drugs whilst drinking alcohol in the drink safe precinct. Yet statistically police cannot record if that person in altercation was drug affected, and simply place it down as alcohol related. And if police can say they can indicate the difference, it is at their opinion and its a load of rubbish. Police can drug test a driver but cannot drug test a person who was in altercation in licensed premises or community.
    8. lack of penalties:
    for those individuals who commit a violent act in or out of a licensed premise. Police are crying out loud for hasher penalties and are backed by licensed premises. The judicial system is a joke and a major review is needed to stem the alcohol or drug fuelled violence, lets face it, its a very real community problem and is now being seen as acceptable behaviour….

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