23 January 2014
“I have repeatedly raised concerns about alcohol fuelled violence in Parliament and while there are some valuable reforms in the Premier’s announcement that will reduce impacts associated with binge drinking, I am concerned some changes are reactive and could create new problems.
“Mandatory minimum sentences will do nothing to stop thugs getting drunk and attacking innocent people – there is no evidence that they think of consequences at the time of their actions.
“Mandatory minimum sentences will not help punishments better reflect crimes – this is best done by independent courts where all circumstances in each case can be considered.
“Lockouts and early closures should be considered, but inner city lockouts and earlier closing may shift problems to the suburbs, the streets and illegal parties. I am alarmed that the casino in Pyrmont will be exempt, which may mean that Pyrmont becomes the new site of alcohol related violence and anti-social behaviour.
“Lockouts and early closures would be more appropriately introduced as a trial with independent expert review of its effectiveness. I will be calling on the government to review outcomes after six months.
“Many young people in my electorate and in the LGBTI community say they go to well-run venues late at night without causing problems and are being unfairly punished by these changes. They are concerned that the restrictions don’t target problems and penalise those who go out late wanting a safe and fun night out.
“Plans for risk-based licensing will help target poorly run venues and is similar to the permit licensing system I have repeatedly called for which requires licensees to reapply for a licence, encouraging good management.
“Australia needs to address its relationship with alcohol and binge drinking and stop the violence. While I support the announced community education campaign, it must change behaviour, not just give information, and we need a broader discussion about violence in our community, including domestic/family violence.
“Regular free buses between Kings Cross and the city are a big improvement over the current half hour services which are not regular or obvious enough to provide a real alternative to taxis.
“I acknowledge that the Government is attempting to address a very complex problem in the face of community demands for action and I will work with the government this year to get the right solution including through legislation, licensing, policing, transport and cultural change.