By Ian Neubauer

City of Sydney councillors are to vote on a report that proposes a near doubling of the number of alcohol-free zones (AFZ) in the inner city.

The report recommends increasing the number of AFZ in Kings Cross and Surry Hills from 44 to 72 in a bid to reinforce boundaries for appropriate behaviour and minimise conflict between different groups in the community.

"AFZs remain an important preventative tool – giving police powers to stop drinking on the street and confiscate alcohol to help prevent problems escalating,” a City of Sydney spokesperson said.

“[They] are determined by whether they are adjacent to licensed premises, and whether there has been a long-standing issues of alcohol-related anti-social and criminal behaviour.”

The upcoming vote follows a three month-long consultation process that gave consideration to submissions or objections from a range of public stakeholders. Licensees and secretaries of registered clubs whose premises are adjacent to the proposed AFZ were also notified. 

Nine submissions were received by the city. One expressed concern that street drinking had already been pushed to new locations by existing AFZ, while another highlighted the potential impact on marginalised street drinkers and ‘at risk’ youth.

Two submissions expressed opposition to the use of AFZ to control street drinking, citing inequity in enforcement and a potential for increased police presence to impede service provisions in vulnerable communities.

City councillors are scheduled to vote on the proposal within a fortnight.
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