By Clyde Mooney
Strict new standards for venues in Sydney's Kings Cross precinct come into effect this Friday, December 7.
The 'Special Licence Conditions' specify: weekend late night trading to cease one hour before approved trading hour closing time; 'round the clock' incident registers and police notification; no bikies on premises; no shots, cocktails (over 30mL spirits), RTDs (over 5 per cent ABV) or glass containers after midnight.
Effective December 17, venues will also be required to maintain and store digital video imaging of all entries, exits and public areas (except toilets) and the adjacent footpath.
The new regulations are a result of the Liquor Amendment (Kings Cross Plan of Management) Bill 2012 that passed through Parliament in November and supersede the conditions previously proposed by the Director General under the Kings Cross Precinct Liquor Accord, which has been scrapped and replaced by the Bill.
Kings Cross Liquor Accord CEO Doug Grand told TheShout he is concerned by the cessation period before closing as it could result in too many people ending up in the public domain at one time, creating further congestion.
"We would hope that there will be an additional police presence. If they are going to create a 'generic' closing time like this, you would have to think that this point has been discussed," he said.
The new measures come despite Kings Cross having no venues on the NSW 3-strikes register and BOCSAR research reporting a 37 per cent drop in assaults in the area in the past five years.
The 59 licensed premises directly involved have held up well under the weight of recent increased scrutiny, largely due to the pro-active actions of operators and their approach to patron safety initiatives.
"The issue is violence in the public domain. Surely there has got to be a time when patrons' own responsibility is examined more closely and that people are made responsible for their actions," said Grand.