A ten-point plan to reduce alcohol harm in NSW is one step closer to fruition after a forum in Kings Cross last Thursday.
The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) released a plan addressing the availability of alcohol, and is seeking to introduce risk-based licensing fees and improve transport and crowd management in high density areas across the city.
FARE Chief Executive Michael Thorn said the forum was a positive step in having change heard for Kings Cross residents and is now advocating for action from the State Government.
“Residents of Kings Cross endorse FARE’s ten-point plan as alcohol-fuelled violence disrupts and encroaches on these neighbourhoods … resulting in mess on the street and damage to property … now the Government seriously needs to consider the plan and take action,” he said.
President of 2011 Residents’ Association, Lucas Crabtree said Kings Cross will be a safer place if the NSW government trials a scheme similar to that of Newcastle. Since the NSW Liquor Administration Board imposed a number of restrictions on 14 licensed premises in Newcastle four years ago, there has been a 35 per cent reduction in night-time nondomestic assaults.
“I know many residents in the Kings Cross and Potts Point area who will not go out at night as they are afraid with major concerns for their own and others’ safety,” Mr Crabtree said. “Kings Cross needs to impose a scheme similar to that of Newcastle as research has shown that it is only through a reduction in the availability of alcohol that violence and anti-social behaviour can be reduced.”
The O’Farrell Government has implemented a raft of changes to licensed venues in Kings Cross, including limits on alcohol sales with no shots, doubles or ready-to-drink beverages to be sold after midnight on Friday and Saturday nights.
Mr Thorn said this needs to be taken further with FARE’s ten-point plan representing a complete solution for the people and communities of NSW.
“I stand ready and willing to offer FARE’s assistance to the Premier,” Mr Thorn said.
Mr Crabtree agreed, arguing changes proposed by the government are minor and will be ineffective because they only reduce alcohol availability slightly.
In an apparent response to the recent fatal assault on teenager Thomas Kelly, FARE are hoping to persuade the O’Farrell Government to install a statewide 12 month trial of 1am lockouts and 3am closing times for licensed premises. The alcohol research organisation is also pushing for stricter controls on venue density, improved late-night transport and for more crowd control.
A recent poll indicated 77 per cent of adults in NSW believe more needs to be done to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence with 76 per cent of people indicating violence as their number one concern for alcohol misuse, while 24 per cent indicated excessive noise around pubs and clubs.