Safety no longer paramount under proposed plans for night time economy


The report from the New South Wales Parliament Joint Select Committee on Sydney’s Night-Time Economy has been released and already a number of public interest advocacy groups are concerned that the proposed weakening of the laws will destroy the measures that have saved lives and kept Sydney-siders safe.


Many of the submissions to the Inquiry highlighted the evidence of the success of the current laws and that increasing the availability of alcohol triggers more violence and harm. This included the ASMOF NSW submission and the Last Drinks Coalition submission.

The lobbying power of the AHA and the Hemmes family, and the enormous amount of money they invested in the campaign to weaken the laws has won out.

In response to the release of the report the last Drink Coalition made the following media statement:

“Emergency services workers are disappointed and seriously concerned after a release of a report that recommends a complete reversal of alcohol laws in the Sydney CBD precinct including Oxford Street.

Campaign spokesperson and President of the Australian Salaried Medical Officers’ Federation Dr Tony Sara said “It is extremely disappointing that the report of the Joint Select Committee on Sydney’s Night Time Economy leads with statements that safety must be the primary ongoing consideration for any changes, but then proceeds to ignore the weight of evidence and proof of the role existing measures have had in reducing harm.”

“This is a report that offers only flimsy arguments for bringing back heightened alcohol consumption, and that has the gall to say that the last thing the committee wants is for Sydney’s night life to be seen as being reliant on or centred around alcohol. Who are they kidding?,”

“If the government goes down this path - we will be keeping a record of every assault and death that occurs as a result of their decision to scrap Sydney’s life-saving alcohol measures.

“Based on our collective experiences at the frontline of picking up the pieces when night time drinking goes wrong, we are very, very conscious of the very real likelihood that assaults in the public and assaults on emergency services workers will increase.

“We represent dedicated professionals who steadfastly serve the community with care and compassion. We will never cease our efforts to keep emergency services and the community safe.

“At the same time we will also continue to hold political leaders to account for any reduction in community safety. We will take an active role in monitoring any increases in harm and we will continue to speak out to Keep Sydney Safe.

“Before acting on the recommendations in this report the Premier and her Cabinet need to take a long, hard look into ongoing safety and community considerations. If they go too far then they will need to be held directly accountable for the consequences,” Dr Sara said.

The Last Drinks coalition represents NSW emergency service workers and includes doctors, police, nurses and paramedics.

You can also read the statement here and visit for more information.

You can also read an editorial on Drink Tank - an initiative of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), which aims to generate meaningful commentary and debate about alcohol policy, and to provide a platform for all members of the Australian community to share their views and concerns.