Newcastle residents welcome Queensland hotels reduced hours recommendations

Filed under Letters & Opinion ~ by Editor on  18 Mar 2010

Newcastle inner city residents have commended the Joint Queensland Parliamentary Committee’s report recommending reduced hotel closing times across the State.

These recommendations vindicate the hard struggle by local police and residents to make their streets safe and free from alcohol generated fear. They vilify the NSW government’s refusal to flow on the Newcastle decision elsewhere.

Clearly the spectacular results of March 2008 Newcastle hotels decision by the (former) independent Liquor Tribunal reducing late trading hours from 5am to 3am that resulted in a proven 30% reduction in alcohol violence have positively influenced Queensland Parliament.

Credit must go to Newcastle Police who initiated the original hotel complaint later supported by over 150 local residents and small businesses.

It is unfortunate that the NSW government continues to put pub profits ahead of public safety.

They continue to refuse to flow on the Newcastle decision to many other similar NSW communities afflicted with high concentrations of late trading binge barns and associated high levels of alcohol violence and anti social behaviour. BOCSAR figures released today detailing the extensive number of assaults in or around pubs only amplify the shocking unwillingness of the NSW government to adopt proven measures.

NSW Police officers, other emergency workers and medical staff are forced to suffer extremely dangerous work conditions.

Instead of listening to their own experts, including the Police Commissioner, Director General of Health, Director of BOCSAR, as well as the NSW Police Association and many Councils like Manly, the NSW government remains under the influence of the AHA and industry donations.

Whilst the Qld Premier has stated reduced closing times aren’t a silver bullet, the NSW BOCSAR Director acknowledged the Newcastle 2 hour reduction in closing time was the single most effective measure he had witnessed in 21 years to reduce alcohol violence. The NSW government needs to get on the same program.

Still more work needs to be done in Newcastle to reduce alcohol violence and anti social behaviour.

We reject the AHA hysteria about loss of jobs and investment in Newcastle.

Newcastle licensed premises have done quite well considering a 40% fall in hotel valuations across the whole State. New hotels are seeking to open in Newcastle.

Tony Brown
Coalition Newcastle inner city resident groups, small businesses and concerned citizens

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