The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) has warned Kings Cross licensed venues to remain vigilant and abide by their licensing conditions following the conclusion of public submissions to the review of the Liquor Act 2007.
OLGR Director of Compliance Paul Newson said they expect to conduct around 300 inspections of Kings Cross licensed premises this financial year.
“OLGR, together with police, will be actively monitoring licensed venues – both overtly and covertly – to ensure that they abide by the Kings Cross regulations that are in place and operate in accordance with their licence conditions and the liquor laws to prevent intoxication and alcohol-related violence,” he said.
OLGR has issued 18 penalty notices to 11 Kings Cross licensed venues for breaches of the special conditions since December.
Australian Hoteliers Association NSW CEO Paul Nicolaou has panned stricter monitoring.
“We need to be looking at targeted measures on a Friday and Saturday night when the problems occur – not cosmetic measures that do nothing but cost money and inconvenience the public,” he said.
Mr Nicolaou attacked the enforcement of regulations and said the answers lie deeper and outside the ambit of individual venues.
“How about more CCTV, more transport or more police on our streets during the actual times when statistics show violence actually occurs?” he said.
A recent report from the state’s Auditor-General exposed the annual $1.02 billion cost of alcohol abuse to the government.
The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) has defended the government’s tougher enforcement of specific Kings Cross parameters.
“Previous efforts to weaken [alcohol service] legislation to shift its primary focus from health protection to industry pandering are now seen for what they were – an ill-conceived and colossal error on the part of government,” said FARE CEO Michael Thorn.
But by enforcing blanket restrictions over the course of the week, Mr Nicolaou believes regular patrons are unfairly targeted.
“Offenders need to be banned from the precinct and every venue in it at peak times, but instead the focus is on people having dinner on a Monday or Tuesday,” he said.