New alcohol measures tipped by NSW govt

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16 Jan 2019

After weeks of public pressure to act against alcohol-fuelled violence, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has announced his government will urgently consider measures to tackle the problem.


On his first day back at NSW parliament after a 10-day holiday, the premier said a suite of new measures would come before cabinet on Monday.

But Mr O’Farrell says there’s no “simple or single solution” to the problem.

“The fact is, though, we are tailor-making decisions and policies to tackle the problems. We are seeing some progress but clearly not enough progress.”

He has come under sustained pressure over a string of high-profile attacks that left young men dead or seriously injured in inner Sydney.

Mr O’Farrell told reporters on Thursday his government had taken decisive action both before and after 18-year-old Thomas Kelly’s death from a drunken one-punch assault at Kings Cross in July 2012.

This included “three-strikes” licensing laws, beefed-up police powers, a ban on glass and the sale of shots after midnight in Kings Cross and improved public transport, but more was needed, he said.

Proposals also included moves to reshape the binge drinking culture.

“The government understands concerns about alcohol and drug-fuelled violence, binge drinking and what’s been going on in these entertainment precincts,” the premier said.

The premier said the reforms cabinet would consider included better alcohol licensing regulation, boosted police resources and penalties targeting those who commit crimes while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

His comments come the day before the funeral of Sydney’s latest one-punch victim, Daniel Christie, who died on Saturday after he was allegedly attacked by self-proclaimed mixed martial arts fighter Shaun McNeil on New Year’s Eve at Kings Cross.

McNeil remains before the courts charged with the 18-year-old’s murder.

Mr O’Farrell said the Christie family’s local MP as well as Governor-General Quentin Bryce would be at Friday’s service but he would not attend because he did not want to politicise the event.

He said he had spoken with Daniel Christie’s father.

“What’s clear is that Daniel, in his words, was a beautiful boy and (from) what I know as the father of someone who is similarly aged, a beautiful boy with an unlimited future,” Mr O’Farrell said.

Opposition Leader John Robertson said the premier still lacked a plan and had failed to bring in the reforms necessary to end alcohol-fuelled violence, including 1am lock-outs backed by police and medical experts.

“Over the Christmas-New Year period there have been far too many incidents of people being hit, lives being lost and families being left devastated,” he told reporters.

“The premier came back to work today but he’s clearly still in holiday mode.” Mr Robertson said Labor would trial 1am lockouts and 3am last drinks in the CBD and Kings Cross as well as bring in late night trains from Kings Cross to Town Hall and Central.

“The test for Mr O’Farrell is to implement lock-outs – if he doesn’t, then it’s proof he is a wholly owned subsidiary of the liquor lobby.”

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