Lifting alcohol laws disappointing and dangerous: emergency service workers

29-Nov-2019

Yesterday the NSW Premier decided to axe the modest alcohol laws in the CBD from 14 January 2020. The laws will remain in place in Kings Cross and last drinks will be served at 3.30am.

Despite overwhelming evidence that the laws had reduced the incidence of alcohol related injuries, the Premier has bowed to the lobbying of the Australian Hotels Association. The decision has been welcomed by the AHA Chief Executive John Whelan.

The Premier had previously said she would “…find the right balance between community safety and boosting the night-time economy".

But as ASMOF President Dr Tony Sara has said “only flimsy arguments” have been offered for relaxing the laws which would bring back increased alcohol consumption and the related violence that goes with that.

"We are very, very conscious of the very real likelihood that assaults in the public and assaults on emergency services workers will increase," said Dr Sara.

ASMOF, The Keep Sydney Safe Coalition and members at St Vincent's Hospital all believe that the relaxation of the laws will result in renewed violence. The evidence form St Vincent’s is clear – they have treated 60 per cent fewer facial fractures, 20 per cent fewer eye fractures and 25 per cent fewer alcohol poisoning cases since the 2014 implementation of lockout laws.

The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research in August found non-domestic assaults dropped 53 per cent in Kings Cross and four per cent in the CBD since the lockout laws were introduced.

Gerard Heyes, Secretary of the HSU said, “The hard evidence and our collective experiences at the frontline of picking up the pieces when night time drinking goes wrong, means we are very, very conscious of the very real likelihood that assaults in the public and assaults on emergency services workers will increase as a result of this decision”.

“It’s disappointing that the Premier seems to have ignored much of the evidence in favour of the unfounded and deluded view that to have a ‘vibrant’ city you need to ply people with alcohol.

You can read the Keep Sydney Safe media release here.

Visit www.lastdrinks.org.au for more information.