City News

Local pollies cautious on liquor reform

Any venue can be exempt if it pays a fee, the legislation indicates

Independent MP for Sydney Alex Greenwich has expressed concern about the state government’s liquor reforms.

Premier Barry O’Farrell announced on Tuesday that venues in the CBD will be subject to a 1.30am lockout and 3am “last drinks” policy.

“While there are some valuable reforms in the Premier’s announcement…I am concerned some changes are reactive and could create new problems,” Mr Greenwich said.

“Inner city lockouts and earlier closing may shift problems to the suburbs, the streets and illegal parties.”

Mr Greenwich also criticised the introduction of mandatory minimum penalties for one-punch assaults where alcohol is a factor, saying they will do nothing to stop drunk thugs from attacking.

“There is no evidence that they think of consequences at the time of their actions.”

Lord Mayor Clover Moore welcomed the government’s package but advocated better train services to Kings Cross and a targeted strategy to combat “pre-fuelling”, where punters drink heavily at home before travelling to the city.

“What we don’t want to see is tens of thousands of people making their way to other areas just outside of the new precinct,” Cr Moore said.

“There needs to be active monitoring of neighbourhoods outside the Government’s CBD precinct to ensure the problem isn’t being shifted somewhere else.”

The Lord Mayor was cautious on the question of 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks, reminding constituents of the city’s existing “OPEN Sydney” strategy to diversify the late night economy.

“I don’t think taking tough action on drug and alcohol fuelled violence needs to undermine our status as a global city,” Cr Moore said.

Labor councillor Linda Scott said the package was an encouraging first step.

“Sydney needs to be a city that is both fun and safe, and at the moment it’s clearly neither,” she said.

Cr Scott said liquor licences should not be granted in perpetuity and that the City needs more rangers to enforce existing conditions.

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