Sickening acts of drunken violence across the state during New Year's Eve have prompted the state opposition to re-release its Drink Smart, Home Safe policy.
Based on the Newcastle model, the policy seeks to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence through a reduction in operating hours for bars and clubs, increased public transport, changes to licensing laws and increased policing.
But while Daniel Christie, 18, fights for his life after being the victim of an alleged assault in Kings Cross on Tuesday night, academics and industry representatives continue to argue over the best way forward on the issue.
Senior University of Wollongong researcher and Centre for Health Initiatives director Professor Sandra Jones said while the policy was a good start, it didn't go far enough.
"We've known for decades what we need to do is reduce the availability of alcohol, reduce trading hours, address the way alcohol is marketed and promoted, and we've known for decades if we did that, we would reduce alcohol-related harm and it still hasn't happened," she said.
She questioned the effectiveness of a policy created by an opposition political party and urged the community to pressure the current government to do more to combat the problem.
"We, as a community, should hold them to that if they get into power and we should be putting pressure on those who are in power to implement effective policies," Prof Jones said.
From 7pm New Year's Eve to 7pm New Year's Day, 212 people presented to Wollongong Hospital's emergency department suffering a variety of ailments.
A hospital spokeswoman said the number was average for the Christmas holiday period.
Earlier this week, Minister for Hospitality George Souris said statistics showed the government's approach to alcohol-fuelled violence was working.
Between 2008 and 2012, there was a 28 per cent drop in violent incidents on licensed premises, a 35 per cent plunge in alcohol-related assaults on police and a 12 per cent fall in alcohol-related domestic assaults. There was also a 28 per cent drop in alcohol-related non-domestic assaults, and a 9 per cent fall in people attending emergency departments for acute alcohol problems.
Mr Souris also rejected calls for blanket restrictions on the voluntary "Newcastle model" to be imposed compulsorily on licensed venues across the state.
"I reaffirm the government's commitment to tailored solutions to address specific alcohol-related problems in local communities, which have achieved significant success in reducing violence."
Clubs NSW chairman Peter Newell supported the government's stance and said while one policy might work in Newcastle or Kings Cross, a different approach might be needed in the Illawarra.
"What this comes down to is personal responsibility," he said. "People need to know that if they break the law, there are consequences. Clubs are not the problem here ... there are around 1450 clubs in NSW and if you add up every incident that happened in those clubs over the past 12 months, it's about the same as for one particular spot and that's Kings Cross."
Australian Hotels Association NSW policing and membership director John Green agreed.
"What we, the association, looks at is local solutions for local problems and that's where we've seen significant reductions [in alcohol related violence] in areas like the Central Coast, and in Wollongong itself," he said.
Key features of Labor’s policy:
• An 18-month trial of 1am lockouts, 3am last drinks and no shots after 10pm in Kings Cross and Sydney CBD.
• Late night/early morning trains from Kings Cross to Town Hall and Central.
• A new risk-based licensing fee structure for hotels and bottleshops, providing a financial incentive for responsible alcohol service.
• A new independent liquor regulator.
• Introduction of undercover operations targeting alcohol sales to minors.