By Clyde Mooney

The hotels industry has welcomed the announcement of widespread initiatives from the NSW Premier's office in response to the public outcry over the Kings Cross licensed precinct.

Premier Barry O'Farrell and Minister for Hospitality George Souris have issued a raft of new measures based around new technology, improved transport options, and greater police presence and powers.

Police will begin a high-visibility campaign beginning September 28 in time for the long weekend, which will include the use of drug-detection dogs without being required to first obtain a warrant.

Between 1.00am and 5.00am bus services will ferry patrons to Central or Town Hall every eight or 15 minutes (respectively) and taxi services will see additional security at ranks and the trial of pre-paid fares.

Most significantly, the area will see the introduction of a linked ID scanning system in every pub, club, and strip-joint and new laws allowing individuals to be banned from all licensed premises.

"My message to trouble-makers is: when you're out, you're out," Premier O'Farrell states in the release.

"In some cases, offenders will be barred for longer periods because we won't tolerate their behaviour in the Cross."

Other initiatives include the expansion of the area covered by the Kings Cross Liquor Accord to incorporate around 100 extra licensed venues in Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay, an extension on the freeze on new liquor outlets in the expanded precinct until 24 December 2015, and restrictions on licences for small bars.

"We will introduce a new category of 'small bar' liquor licences which will limit venues to 60 patrons or less, and prohibit gaming machines," said Souris.

The Minister for Health also announced an alcohol education campaign targeting binge drinking and the risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption.

The Australian Hotels Association has welcomed the announcements as appropriate, practical steps.

"For the first time, a linked scanning system will record exactly who is in the venue and ensure those doing the wrong thing are kicked out – and just as importantly, will not be allowed in anywhere else," said AHA NSW CEO Paul Nicolaou.

"These are practical measures that directly target those people doing the wrong thing, not the 99.9 per cent of people who come to the Cross for a good time."

These measures announced in 'Operation Rushmore' are in addition to post-midnight conditions placed on Kings Cross venues by the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) last month, which include bans on glasses, shots and doubles, stricter controls for CCTV and incident registers, purchase limit of four drinks at a time, and the requirement of two Responsible Service of Alcohol marshals in venues.

The Shout Team

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

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  1. Dear Mr Mooney,

    The AHA may have indicated that they support the proposed measures put forward by Mr O’Farrell, but according to my licensee and pub owner clients, they are far from happy about the ramifications of such proposals and their potential to effect other city venues.

    The NSW Police Association want these measures put in place at ALL NSW pubs and clubs and not just the Cross. The economic and compliance effect of these proposals will be signifcant to say the least.

    In my opinion, the ID scanning suggestion is troublesome and has just not been thought through by the Govt. There are several manufacturers of the ID scanning equipment currently being used by numerous venues throughout Australia. How are they intending to link the information contained on one machine by one manufacturer to another manufacturer’s machine? The manufacturing companies do not share information with their competitors. Is the software used by one manufacturer in their machines compatible with the other machines. I think you will find they are not.

    Further, even if the information is able to be shared, will their be any guarantees that the information provided by a patron at one venue will be secure when transferred to another venues machine. Can they ensure that the information won’t be misused by third parties who receive the information? Contractual issues may also arise regarding the provision of identification information by a patron to a particular venue. Contractual obligations including the privacy of the information may not exist between venues who are not a party to any implied contract.

    Again in my opinion, these proposals will be difficult to implement and will only result in higher implementation costs for owners/licensees.

    Perhaps the AHA should investigate the full implications of supporting these proposals and their flow on effects before giving the ideas their stamp of approval. Just my opinion.


    David Sylvester
    Principal Solicitor
    Sylvester & Browne Lawyers
    (02) 8251 0096

  2. I totally agree with the above comments. Let stop bowing to the NSW State Governments reactionary policies. They have not been properly investigated or thought out. There is no foresight in the proposed measures – just an attempt to win votes with the illusion of doing something to solve the alleged problems. What independent investigation has the AHA done? Which hotel owners (its members) has the AHA spoken to that allow it to support such measures? Again a case of implementing legislation to move the costs onto hotel owners as the State Government is in such a financial mess it cant afford to fund its police force to do their jobs. The majority of problems occur on the streets not in the venues – what a great idea -push all the wrong doer’s out on the streets – a great solution- NOT!

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