By Andrew Starke

The NSW government has today (May 28) claimed that assaults in the state’s most violent pubs and clubs have dropped by nearly 20 percent, with 29 venues removed from the list and 20 new establishments added.

Gaming and Racing Minister, Kevin Greene, has released an updated list of licensed venues subject to special conditions from June 1, with 10 venues to be subject to the most stringent, ‘Level 1’ restrictions.

A further 47 licensed venues were categorized as ‘Level 2’ offenders while 27 pubs and clubs that were on the December list have had restrictions lifted because their rates of alcohol violence fell below the government imposed threshold.

However 20 new establishments were added to the list including John Ibrahim's Tunnel nightclub in Kings Cross.

Greene said violent incidents at the 66 licensed venues currently on the list fell 19.6 percent since the last review in December.

“This is the first review of 2010 and it has resulted in a significant reduction in violent incidents at pubs and clubs on the list,” he said.

“It is clear this scheme is driving a significant behaviour change in venues by reducing intoxication, increasing patron safety and helping to prevent alcohol-related incidents.”

However perennial offenders, Mean Fiddler in Rouse Hill (53 incidents) and Penrith Rugby League Club (46), again topped the list, which still does not take the size of the establishment into consideration.

“How can you possibly compare venues such as Penrith Panthers with small suburban pubs?” questioned NSW Opposition Leader, Barry O’Farrell.

“It makes no sense treating a venue with one million people a year coming through its doors the same as one with ten thousand.”

The Mean Fiddler Hotel is also believed to be contesting as many as 21 of the 53 recorded incidents in the past year.

Rounding out the ten pubs and clubs facing ‘Level 1’ restrictions are: Fanny's of Newcastle with 22 incidents, the Embassy Hotel in Penrith with 21, the Valley Brewery in Maitland with 21, Rooty Hill RSL with 20, Glasshouse Tavern in Wollongong with 20, and Coffs Harbour Hotel, The Bended Elbow in Albury and the Tunnel, all with 19.

The Tunnel nightclub's listing comes after a brawl that occurred outside the premises last October when it was known as the Dragonfly club allegedly including members of the Notorious bikie gang.

Restrictions to apply to Level 1 venues (19 or more violent incidents in a year) are:

  • A 2am lockout;
  • Ceasing alcohol service 30 minutes prior to closing;
  • An appropriate extra security measure such as additional guards, CCTV, digital video and audio recording devices, or electronic ID scanning;
  • Drinks must not be served in glass or breakable containers after midnight;
  • No shots, no doubles, no RTDs over 5 percent after midnight;
  • A limit of four alcoholic drinks per customer per order after midnight; and
  • Alcohol time-outs or the provision of free water and food for ten minutes every hour after midnight.

Level 2 venues (12 to 18 violent incidents in a year) must comply with three conditions:

  • Ceasing alcohol service 30 minutes before closing;
  • No glass or breakable containers after midnight; and
  • Alcohol time-outs or the provision of free water and food for ten minutes every hour after midnight.

However there was better news for venues removed from the list including the Towradgi Beach Hotel, where annual rates of violence fell 83 percent, Darlinghurst’s Stonewall Hotel where incidents fell 71 percent, the Waratah Hotel at Mudgee (69 percent reduction), Parramatta’s Roxy Hotel and the Central Coast Leagues Club at Gosford (each with 53 percent falls), and the Warners Bay Hotel (50 percent drop).

The Coogee Bay Hotel was another heavyweight venue removed from the list after recording just 11 incidents over the past year.

“These results are a credit to the licensees, staff and patrons of these venues as well as our police and liquor inspectors who have worked hard to enforce the conditions and improve compliance standards,” Greene said.

“It shows that the NSW Government’s tough stance, targeting licensed venues with 12 or more violent incidents in a year, is making our pubs and clubs and surrounding areas safer for everybody.”

The new list is announced every six months, in June and December, following a review using updated alcohol-related incident data.

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The Shout Team

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

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