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Alcohol-fuelled violence continues to be a major problem for local communities around NSW.

For emergency service workers such as doctors, nurses, paramedics and police officers – the people on the front-line of dealing with aggressive drunks – alcohol-fuelled violence is a constant occupational hazard.

That’s why four major organisations representing emergency service workers in NSW banded together to form the Last Drinks campaign.  The campaign is seeking to tackle the issue of alcohol-fuelled violence head-on, by challenging the 24/7 drinking culture that has permeated modern Australian society.

The coalition believes strongly in evidence-based policy solutions.  And the evidence shows that the most effective way to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence in the Australian context is by placing restrictions on the late night sale of alcohol.  In particular, the recent experience in Newcastle has shown a sustained decrease in the number of night-time assaults of over 30 per cent – which was achieved after a number of restrictions were placed on licensed venues in the Newcastle CBD.  These restrictions include:

  • 3am closing time for all venues;
  • Lock-outs at venues from 1.30 am; and
  • Restrictions on the sale of high-alcohol content drinks (such as shots) after 10pm.

The Last Drinks campaign has been seeking to have the Newcastle model extended to other parts of NSW.  If it works in Newcastle, it can work in other areas with similar problems.

So far, we’ve been successful in getting the measures introduced in the greater Sydney CBD, with the NSW Government introducing the measures in early 2014. While it is still early days, all reports indicate that the measures are working to reduce alcohol-related assaults.

The challenge now is to help other communities across the state to combat alcohol-related violence

The drug ice is also becoming an increasing problem across NSW, particularly in regional areas.

This relatively new problem needs a serious preventative approach, and the Last Drinks coalition is currently taking steps to ensure the proper research is done into the issue.

We should not accept that alcohol-fuelled violence, or drug-related violence, is part of the Australian way of life. Our lives are too important for that.

 

Last Drinks campaign partners:

Police Association of NSW

Australian Salaried Medical Officers’ Federation of NSW

NSW Nurses’ Association

Health Services Union

Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education

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