By Annette Shailer
NSW Premier Kristina Keneally has said the NSW government will not back the call from a coalition of emergency service workers for 1am lockouts and a ban on shots and cocktails after 10pm in NSW licensed venues.
Keneally supported local approaches to curb alcohol-fuelled violence instead of blanket bans, News Ltd has reported.
The coalition of emergency service workers has called for tough new restrictions on the sale of alcohol at pubs and clubs across NSW to reduce the number of frontline staff being attacked and abused.
The Police Association of NSW, Australian Medical Association (NSW), NSW Nurses Association and the Health Service Union (HSU) launched the ‘Last Drinks’ campaign in Sydney yesterday (Mar 30).
Speaking at the launch, Police Association vice president, Scott Weber, said police officers, doctors, nurses and ambulance officers were sick of dealing with drunk and aggressive offenders.
“Frontline workers are being abused, intimidated, threatened, assaulted and injured in their course of their duty,” he said.
“In March 2008, the NSW Liquor Administration Board imposed a number of modest restrictions on 14 licensed premises in Newcastle. These included a 1am lockout, restrictions on the sale of shots and bringing forward closing times from 5am to 3am.
“The results from these measures were spectacular, with assaults after dark falling by 29 per cent – or 133 per year. Extending these measures would have a major impact on alcohol-related violence across the state.”
This campaign comes on the back of Premier Kristina Keneally launching on March 19 the new program 'Hassle Free Nights' aimed at helping NSW police crack down on alcohol-fuelled violence.
ClubsNSW CEO, David Costello, has urged police and emergency authorities to recognise the excellent safety records of their venues and to exempt them from the new restrictions.
“The rate of alcohol-related violence at clubs is lower today than it was a decade ago. Clubs have a proven track record of showing zero tolerance for trouble makers. That’s why incidents at clubs have been falling while at incidents at non-clubs over that same time have increased by 37 per cent,” he said.
“In just over two months time, millions of people are expected to watch the Soccer World Cup at their local club. The vast majority of these matches commence well after 1am, the time when police are suggesting people be prevented from entering their local club.
“The Police and State Government must of course prosecute irresponsible venues. Indeed they have ample powers now to do so. But where is the logic in treating all venues as problem venues when the vast majority are doing a great job ensuring the community have safe and affordable places to go out to at night?”
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