By Andrew Starke

Shadow Minister for Hospitality and Tourism George Souris has claimed that Government is basing its response to alcohol related incidents at licensed venues on inaccurate statistics.

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) last week issued an updated list of the top hundred pubs, bars and clubs by number of assaults over the past year.

However Souris questioned whether the data was accurate enough to be used as a lynchpin of Government policy.

“The Top 48 list has been a shambles since November last year and hasn’t been updated since,” said Souris. “The list was supposed to be updated on a monthly basis by which venues would be added and removed based on the BOCSAR data.”

“Venues on the current list of 48 are the subjected of special licence conditions including 2am lockouts, despite many of them improving safety of their venues during the last 10 months,” he continued.

Souris said the new BOCSAR statistics showed that the venue ranked first on the current list has dropped 96 places and the premises ranked third on the list has also dropped down 96 places.

“Furthermore by comparing the 48 list rankings to the new BOCSAR statistics, nine venues currently on the list would be removed from the list all together, had the Government bothered to update the 10 month old list.”

“The use of these statistics to accurately depict venue related violence would not work until venues are categorised by their size,” he said. “How can you compare venues such as the Penrith Panthers Rugby Leagues Club to small suburban pub?”

Despite his objections, Souris and the Opposition supported the Liquor Amendment (Temporary Licence Freeze) Bill 2009, which was passed last week and referred to the Legislative Council.

NSW Minister for Gaming and Racing, Kevin Greene reminded the Opposition that BOSCAR is an independent body, which he said is highly respected for its research and advice.

“It is appropriate that the bureau’s advice and the outcomes of its research be used to guide government policy and the development of responses to alcohol-related violence,” he said.

“He (Souris) seems to have a misunderstanding of the regulations and the legislation brought in in December last year, and that was highlighted in parts of his contribution here today. It is unfortunate that he is not aware of the work that has been undertaken by the Government and how that work is carried out.”

Greene added that no applications for new affected liquor licences for premises in the freeze precincts have been received since 25 June.

The special licence conditions will apply to the State’s most violent venues from December 1 this year.

The Shout Team

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