Drink Tank

2016 in review: Sydney

Highlighting some of the best posts on #KeepSydneySafe during 2016

As we welcome in the new year, the team at FARE would like to take a moment to reflect on the past year in alcohol policy and to recognise the many achievements of these last 12 months.

During January, we’ll be showcasing some of the best pieces published on Drink Tank, Australia’s conversation space about alcohol, in 2016.

Today we’re focusing on our efforts to #KeepSydneySafe and defend the successful trading hour measures introduced in February 2014.

The 2016 review of New South Wales liquor law reforms generated heated debate and a good deal of misinformation.

Our ongoing Drink Tank series highlighted a number of key submissions to the Independent Liquor Law Review, separating the fact from the fiction and making the case in support of the measures. We’ve summarised some of the key commentary below.

Kings Cross residents welcome Callinan report

“Some mornings the emergency department was like a military battle field with people bleeding, vomiting and unable to control bladders. On weekends our streets were like a warzone, where we were stepping over bodies and vomit.” Darlinghurst resident Jo Holder responds to the findings of the Callinan Review and shares her experience of how the reduction in trading hours has led to a welcome diversification of the business mix in the Kings Cross area.

Highlights from the Callinan review

The highly anticipated report from the Independent Liquor Law Review, led by The Hon Ian Callinan AC, has largely confirmed what FARE, together with law enforcement, health professionals, and medical experts have long argued: that the policies have made Kings Cross and the Sydney CBD safer. We’ve summarised some of key points and commentary from Callinan’s 151-page report over on Drink Tank.

The history and mythology of the Cross

Sydney local Julian Ardas discusses the history of the locality and how the one constant in the cultural melting pot that is Kings Cross is change.

Latest stats prove alcohol laws are working

The latest Kings Cross and Sydney CBD assaults statistics, which show a huge decrease in violence, further highlight why it would be irresponsible to wind back the current alcohol laws. Emergency services workers welcomed the report saying: “These laws are saving lives – there’s no doubt about that at all.”

Open for business: Industry claims don’t add up

FARE’s Anthony Harrison discusses the FARE and NAAPA submissions to the Independent Liquor Law Review and puts a number of questionable industry claims under the microscope.

Cop the facts: Lockout laws save lives

Sydney isn’t the only city to decide that modest alcohol restrictions are a much better alternative to allowing alcohol-fuelled ­violence on the streets. President of the Police Association of New South Wales Scott Weber says nothing else has made the difference to the culture of alcohol and violence like these modest alcohol measures.

Sydney wasn’t vibrant before these alcohol laws, it was embarrassing

The current debate in New South Wales is passionate because we all love this city. We all want to see a vibrant Sydney, but excessively liberal licensing laws clearly weren’t working for parts of the city and that’s why restrictions ended up being part of the mix, writes Steve Pate.



Drink Tank aims to generate meaningful commentary and debate about alcohol policy, and to provide a platform for all members of the Australian community to share their views and concerns.

Our goal is for the Drink Tank community to engage in robust discussion about alcohol, highlighting a broad spectrum of views and voices, and ultimately to raise the profile of alcohol as an issue national of importance.

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