Controversial alcohol-fuelled harm reduction measures – such as earlier last drinks and lockouts – should be extended from Sydney’s CBD to Wollongong, according to an alliance of health professionals, emergency workers and research organisations.
The NSW and ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance (NAAPA) has put alcohol-fuelled harm on the political agenda ahead of the March state election, with the release of its election platform on Wednesday.
Dubbed “Restoring the Balance”, the document outlines four priorities – including strengthening measures in the Sydney CBD, Kings Cross and Newcastle late-night precincts, and rolling them out across the state.
While the laws vary in each area, the main conditions are last drinks between 2.30am and 3.30am, and a 1-2am “one-way door” (or lockout) policy.
The legislation was introduced by the O’Farrell government in 2014.
NAAPA spokesman Tony Brown, from Newcastle University, described the laws as being “powerful and effective in reducing harms in prominent nightlife precincts in Sydney and Newcastle”.
Mr Brown said other NSW communities, “where there are concentrations of late-trading pubs, clubs and bottle shops”, should not be deprived of similar measures.
According to the alliance, the toll from alcohol was far worse outside metropolitan areas than it was in renowned city hot spots.
“We must ensure that all of NSW can benefit from the positive impacts of these policies by rolling them out statewide in all late-night precincts including Byron Bay, Bondi and Wollongong, and other locations where data shows high levels of non-domestic assaults,” the document said.
There were 831 non-domestic violence related assaults in the Wollongong council area in the year to September, according to the latest crime data, up three on the previous year.
NAAPA has 47 member organisations, including the University of Wollongong’s Centre for Health Initiatives.
Another of its priorities is increased regulation of online liquor sales, including a 12-hour delay on deliveries.