A proposal to extend NSW’s controversial lockout laws across the state are among hundreds of suggestions submitted to a government review.
“The measures have been proven to work in the greater Sydney CBD, so it is important other communities can now benefit from the decrease in alcohol-fuelled violence,” a submission from the Last Drinks Coalition says.
The National Alliance For Action on Alcohol meanwhile argues lockout law exemptions for venues such as The Star casino in inner Sydney should be removed.
“Exemptions have the potential to weaken the overall impact of the measures to reduce alcohol-related violence,” the group said in its submission.
The Star casino however said it would be opposed to such a move and urged the government to allow it continue operating under its existing conditions, which it claimed were “the most stringent of any venue in NSW”.
More than 1800 businesses, organisations, local councils, MPs and individuals made submissions to the independent review into the state’s liquor laws, which were made public on Friday.
Many of them, including one from the youth wing of the NSW Liberal Party, were critical of the legislation, calling it an “arbitrary impingement upon the freedoms of the people of NSW”.
Sydney businessman Matt Barrie who made headlines for his scathing essay on the laws in February also submitted a 70-page report arguing the legislation is “an unjustified beat up over a social issue”.
Music and entertainment bodies, as well as several Sydney hotels, pubs and clubs echoed the sentiments, drawing on evidence which showed many venues had shut down as a direct result.
The laws which require central Sydney venues to turn people away from 1.30am and serve last drinks by 3am, were introduced in 2014 following a number of one-punch deaths and assaults during alcohol-fuelled nights out.
In February, about 8000 people gathered in Sydney’s CBD in protest.
But Premier Mike Baird has consistently defended the laws, saying they have decreased alcohol-related violence.
Two more roundtable discussions are set to be held as part of the liquor law review with former High Court judge Ian Callinan due to deliver his report in August.