Newcastle Herald – Calls for Newcastle-style restrictions to be introduced to licensed venues statewide

Jan 15, 2019

The NSW/ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance wants restrictions placed on pubs, clubs and bottle shops statewide as part of a suite of measures aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm.

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SMH: I fear a return to bloodied brawls on Sydney’s streets

Nov 14, 2018

Life is a wonderful thing. There’s no doubt that most of us take it for granted. Sometimes life itself seems so ordinary and mundane and we forget its true value until a loved one suddenly becomes sick or injured, and everything you once took for granted, is snatched from beneath your feet.

With last week’s City of Sydney proposal to extend alcohol trading hours across the city, and this week’s bill in NSW Parliament to scrap our lockout laws altogether – it’s important now more than ever for our politicians to remember not to take young lives for granted.

Click here to read the full opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald by Oliver Behrens, Police Association NSW. 

Media Release: Emergency services workers concerns for extending the grip of 2am alcohol trading to residential suburbs of the city

Nov 6, 2018

Emergency services workers have expressed concerns on a proposal by the City of Sydney which would extend trading hours, for bars across Sydney and potentially spread alcohol related violence to residential parts of the city.

Last Drinks campaign spokesperson Dr Tony Sara said that while the Coalition had no issue with extended hours for businesses that did not sell alcohol, there were concerns that the proposal to extend trading for bars and restaurants could lead to an increase in alcohol related assaults in residential areas.


“When trading hours are extended, rates of alcohol related violence on our streets skyrocket. For every hour that a bar remains open, the rate of alcohol-related violence spikes by 40 per cent.”


“We should be rolling out Sydney’s successful and modest alcohol laws across all suburbs, not looking for more ways to sell alcohol for longer, bringing alcohol related violence and sexual assault to residential areas of the city.”


“With more venues selling liquor for longer, there is a real risk we end up making Sydney’s problem with alcohol related violence worse, not better.”


“Additionally, we must be mindful that even if we kept bar trading hours as they are, if more retail businesses open later, the NSW Government needs to commit to providing extra emergency services workers to cope with the inevitable increase in demand when more people are out on the streets at night.”


Dr Sara said that after the lockout laws were introduced, Kings Cross saw a 59.2 per cent decrease in assaults between 6pm and 1.30am and a staggering 93.9 per cent decrease between 3am and 6am.


“Incidences of indecent and sexual assault in Kings Cross, the primary victims being women, have both reduced by almost 50%.”


“St Vincent’s Hospital saw a 50% reduction in serious head injuries between 8pm and 8am. All of these successes are now at risk.”


“It is clear that any proposal which extends trading hours for bars is putting young lives in harm’s way.”

Daily Telegraph: Newtown assaults jump 63 per cent

Sep 12, 2018

THE exodus of revellers from Kings Cross to Sydney’s new night-life capital of Newtown has driven a 63 per cent rise in assaults in the precinct.

While non-domestic assaults across the inner west dropped 10.9 per cent, the 2042 postcode of Newtown and Enmore bucked the trend with 246 assaults in the year to June 2018, up from 151 the previous year.

City of Sydney figures show the number of people heading to King St on a Saturday night has exploded over the last five years while the numbers in Kings Cross have nosedived.

Since lock out laws were introduced, assaults in the Cross have halved from 483 in 2014 to 245 this year.

On a brighter note, the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research’s latest report revealed the growing popularity of private CCTV cameras had contributed to a dramatic drop in burglaries across the inner west.

The report showed thefts from cars fell 19.3 per cent, home break-ins dropped 17.4 per cent and thefts from dwellings dropped 28.5 per cent in the 24 months to June 2018.

Inner West Police Area Command (PAC) acting crime manager and detective acting inspector Andrew Evans said: “A lot of people these days have installed their own CCTV which is obviously of benefit to us as investigators.

“Six years ago you couldn’t walk into Harvey Norman and purchase three security cameras that were motion censored or Wi-Fi enabled. Home security has improved and become more accessible.

“We also have a very good relationship with the community here in the inner west and we regularly receive information either via Crime Stoppers or through Eyewatch.”

The PAC also has a specific team to review all property related crime every 24 hours.

Insp Evans said their strong relationship with the business community and liquor accord helps them send police where they’re most needed.

Anyone with information about crime can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or go online:

SMH: Man dead after mob of ‘angry males’ swarms paramedics

Sep 3, 2018

A 25-year-old man has died after paramedics say an angry crowd prevented them from treating him in Sydney’s south.

Paramedics were called to Iris Avenue in Riverwood where the 25-year-old was suspected of having suffered an overdose on Sunday morning.

Five paramedics attended the scene but were not able to treat the man, who they said was in cardiac arrest.

According to the Australian Paramedics Association, relatives of the man became “irate” and a crowd of “angry males” attempted to intervene, blocking those trying to administer treatment.

Paramedics called for police to attend at about 7.45am, but the man was dead by the time they arrived.

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SMH: Assaults on paramedics an unacceptable workplace hazard

Aug 15, 2018

Sunday’s article by Julie Power exposes the shocking cases of assault experienced every day by NSW paramedics. Power’s story reveals the harrowing experiences of individual officers who have been bitten, punched and attacked by patients who behave “like the zombie apocalypse and the walking dead”.

These are not isolated cases. The article also details the decade-long trend of attacks on officers,  which has risen significantly.

These assaults are committed against the women and men whose job it is to save our lives. They work long, antisocial hours, deal with all of life’s gruesome tragedies and crimes and often perform heroic feats of bravery, skill and courage.

But in today’s society, with the prevalence of drugs, alcohol and family violence, they are at serious risk of verbal and physical assault.

Read more.

Media Release: Newcastle emergency services workers welcome decision to maintain liquor laws

May 1, 2018

Newcastle emergency service workers have welcomed the decision by the Horton Review for Newcastle’s life-saving liquor regulations to be maintained.

The Last Drinks Coalition of police officers, paramedics, nurses, doctors and health workers made a comprehensive submission to the Horton Review to protect Newcastle’s current alcohol regulations, which has now been vindicated by Horton’s decision.

NSW Police Association (Newcastle Branch) Chair and frontline police officer Cody Woods said “Emergency services workers in Newcastle are breathing a huge sigh of relief today to hear that Newcastle won’t be going back to the bloodied chaos that it was over a decade ago.”

“This decision will ensure that Novocastrians’ lives will continue to be saved by these modest but important alcohol restrictions.

“Before the Newcastle Solution, emergency department staff would describe scenes out of war zone; people bloodied from assaults, intoxicated patients unconscious and vomiting and a large prevalence of violence toward staff and other patients.”

“Thanks to the intervention, emergency department presentations for night time assault facial injuries fell 26% there was a 37% reduction in assaults.”

“Over just one 12-month period, that meant 429 fewer people were assaulted. In a decade, that’s over 4,000 people saved from serious or life-threatening injury.”

“We simply cannot allow our city to be dragged back into these horrific times to serve the vested interests of the powerful alcohol industry. We’re pleased that the Horton Review did not buckle at the behest of a large and wealthy liquor industry who were simply out to grow their profits.”

Mr Woods said if anything, there is a need for Newcastle’s liquor laws to be strengthened, not weakened.

“More alcohol means increased intoxication equals more assaults and related harms. Those are the facts.”

“That’s what the data from Newcastle and overseas tells us and that’s what eye witness accounts from Newcastle emergency services workers confirm on the streets.”

“The Newcastle Solution is a shining example of the effectiveness of lockout laws in reducing alcohol related violence on our streets, and highlights exactly why these laws need be rolled out across the state.”

In the submission, the Last Drinks coalition of police officers, paramedics, doctors, nurses and health sector workers included compelling local and international data demonstrating how increasing opening hours, extending the service of alcohol and providing exemptions to specific venues, inevitably leads to an increase in violence and other related health harms including the steady increase in the rate of alcohol injury admissions in the Newcastle LGA. 

This Media Release is on behalf of the Last Drinks Coalition



Newcastle Herald: Liquor authority says Newcastle licensing restrictions to stay after Horton review

May 1, 2018

THE Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority says it is considering “only minimal changes” to Newcastle’s late-night trading restrictions, after the Horton Report recommended leaving closing hours and the lockout laws where they were.

The Australian Hotels Association, which called last year for the review of the 2008 trading laws, said it was disappointed that Newcastle would still be subject to a “one size fits all” licensing regime.

“A decade on, ILGA is considering continuing with one-size-fits-all blanket measures, rather than accepting Dr Jonathan Horton’s view that venues that demonstrate good practices and that pose a lower risk ought to enjoy less restrictive conditions than those which do not,” AHA Newcastle/Hunter president Rolly De With said.

Community campaigner Tony Brown, one of the main voices opposed to the AHA, welcomed the liquor authority’s decision, saying it had come as a surprise.

But he cautioned that it was only an interim decision: the authority would give licensees 21 days to respond before making its final decision.

He said Dr Horton’s “venue-by-venue” recommendation would “provide extra ammunition” for those who supported extending trading hours.

“Dr Horton says he supports the existing regime, but by encouraging venues to apply for license variations one at a time, he is leaving the door open to dismantling the uniform conditions in a death of a thousand cuts,” Mr Brown said.

Read the full story here.

Last Drinks Media Release: Emergency services workers call for Premier to deliver transparency in Newcastle liquor law review

Feb 28, 2018


You can download the media release PDF here.

The Last Drinks Coalition of police and ambulance officers, nurses, doctors and health workers has expressed extreme disappointment with the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s (ILGA) decision to not publish submissions prior to the finalisation of the Newcastle liquor law review and have called on the Premier to intervene.

“We call on Premier Gladys Berejiklian to urgently intervene into this fiasco, to ensure that ILGA publishes submissions to the Newcastle liquor review prior to a decision being made. The community has a right to transparency in this process.”

In a joint statement the Coalition said that IGLA’s failure to publicise submissions to the review would deepen the concerns of emergency services workers and the public that the review is a fait accompli in favour of the powerful alcohol industry.

“The people of Newcastle have every right to see and analyse the information and evidence that will underpin decisions which will directly affect their daily lives.”

“ILGA’s decision to not publicise the submissions prior to a final decision being made worsens public suspicions that this review is little more than a Clayton’s consultation, designed to provide a veneer of legitimacy to a process which has the foregone conclusion of watering down Newcastle’s effective liquor laws.”

The Coalition said that IGLA’s refusal to publish submissions was just the latest act in a fraught and dubious process.

“For five months, ILGA refused to admit it was actually considering the AHA’s request to vary or revoke the Newcastle liquor conditions, until it was forced to do so due to public pressure in November 2017.”

“Then ILGA refused to allow NSW Police or NSW Health to provide any input into the review’s terms of reference.”

“This was followed by ILGA’s attempt to drastically truncate submissions to the review to just 16 days, until again pressured by the community and NSW Parliament.”

“The Last Drinks Coalition calls on the Premier to urgently intervene to deliver transparency and reiterates its call for ILGA to fully publish all submissions prior to completion of the review.”

“The Coalition does not accept ILGA’s assertion that do so would undermine the reviews effectiveness in any way, shape or form.”

“In fact, the opposite is true. Publicising submissions to the review would be a step toward restoring much needed public confidence in this review and the recommendations it will shortly make.”


The joint statement was provided by:


Scott Weber


Police Association of NSW                                        

Brett Holmes

General Secretary

Nurses and Midwives

Association NSW


Dr Tony Sara


Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation NSW

Gerard Hayes


Health Services Union



Newcastle Herald Opinion

Feb 19, 2018

THE Australian Hotels’ Association (AHA) application to the NSW government to “vary or revoke” the package of Newcastle’s life-saving alcohol licensing conditions has created a regrettable rift through our town.

On one side we have our police, nurses, doctors, paramedics and internationally acclaimed independent alcohol harm prevention researchers seeking to retain and strengthen the conditions. On the other the AHA, NSW government through Liquor & Gaming NSW and Newcastle council all seek to substantially weaken or dismantle key elements of the Newcastle conditions on the basis the city has allegedly matured, cutting red tape or matching Sydney’s weaker provisions.

Let an informed community be the judge which group has public interest and safety at heart. We cannot further compromise on public and police safety.

Read more by Tony Brown here.