By Gifford Lee

Small bars are not the reason for late-night violence in Kings Cross, according to Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, who says proposed State Government changes to their liquor licences will only serve to "cripple the growing industry".

"Instead of focusing on the big picture, this Government has focused on small bars," she said.

"If you love small bars, and many Sydney-siders do because they offer a civilised alternative to big beer barns, then you should be very alarmed by what the Government is trying to do."

The Lord Mayor’s comments come after Hospitality Minister George Souris yesterday said the NSW Government would introduce a new category of small bar liquor licence as another step in its overall plan to curb violence in Kings Cross.

Part of the proposed legislation changes would limit small bars in Kings Cross to hosting 60 patrons or less at any one time.

"This comes after concerns that licenses approved for small bars were morphing into larger venues of 120 patrons," Souris said.

In July Souris said small bars were part of the overall problem in Kings Cross because they had "a lower level of surveillance, a lower level of supervision, a lower level of compliance".

The Lord Mayor said there are only two small bars in the Cross, but "many large venues that cater for thousands of people".

"What we really need is an overall Kings Cross management plan and reform of licensing and planning laws to address the problem of the saturation of large, late-trading licensed premises. There are simply too many venues, selling too much alcohol for too many hours in Kings Cross," she said.

The Government yesterday announced it will introduce a whole range of initiatives to combat late-night violence in the Cross, including a three year freeze on new liquor licenses being granted in the area. But the new 60 patrons or less liquor licence laws would make small bars exempt from this freeze.

"We are creating a new specific ‘small bar’ licence category limited to 60 patrons to encourage investment and diversity and create a different business model for the industry," Souris said.

Legislation enabling this change will be introduced at the first session of Parliament in 2013.

The Shout Team

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  1. Go Clover! It’s so good to see one in power who has some insight to look to the future and see the bigger picture. When will the state government see that small bars are not the problem and that they are actually a step in the right direction to social change.

    You might be interested in checking out our blog. We write on all things Kings Cross and how to make it a better place

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