Drink Tank

Drink Smart, Home Safe

Everyone should be able to enjoy a social drink with friends in a safe environment. While the majority of people consume alcohol responsibly, excessive consumption by some is placing a growing health, social and economic burden on our community.

It is a sad reality that lives are being lost and families are being destroyed as a direct result of mindless violence linked to alcohol on Sydney’s streets. As NSW Labor Leader, I am determined to tackle this policy challenge and drive the cultural change that is needed in our community.

I have considered the research. I have walked the streets of Kings Cross and Sydney’s CBD late on Friday and Saturday nights with the NSW Police. I have consulted with a range of experts. My view is that strong action is needed to protect our communities and protect our families.

That is why Labor is proposing a wide-reaching policy – Drink Smart, Home Safe – to make real inroads in addressing this major problem with alcohol. In Government, Labor will:

1. Commit to an 18 month trial of ‘Newcastle style’ restrictions in Kings Cross and Sydney CBD to combat alcohol related violence, including:

1.00am lock-outs;
3.00am last drinks; and
Restrictions on high-alcohol content drinks after 10.00pm

Labor will also conduct an independent study to measure the success of the policy to reduce incidents of alcohol related harm.

2. Treat every Friday and Saturday night like a major event – more police, more transport. We will commit to introducing a late night train service from Kings Cross to Town Hall and Central Station to help move thousands of people out of the CBD quickly and safely. Labor will also investigate introducing late night trains on other lines.

3. Establish a new independent liquor regulator which operates outside NSW Trade and Investment and is committed to minimising alcohol related harm as part of its strategic priorities.

4. Introduce Risk Based Licensing Fees to establish a licensing structure which will provide a clear financial incentive for both hotels and bottle shops to comply with the law and implement measures which reduce alcohol related violence. Any additional revenue generated from the new licensing system will be used to fund proactive policies to address alcohol related harm, including more police, CCTV and transport in our entertainment precincts, as well as education campaigns.

5. Introduce Controlled Purchase Operations (undercover operations with 16 & 17 year olds) to target licensees selling alcohol to minors.

6. Mandate the collection and reporting of alcohol sales data to allow the Government to map alcohol sales by suburb to understand the true extent of alcohol related harm in NSW.

I am determined to drive down alcohol related violence and address the impacts of alcohol related harm on our community. Labor will tackle this issue head on, and will be vigilant in our commitment to make Sydney’s streets safe.

Read the full Drink Smart,Home Safe plan.

John Robertson

John Robertson was elected Opposition Leader in March 2011 and is also Shadow Minister for Western Sydney, Shadow Minister for the Illawarra and the Member for Blacktown.

John served as a Minister in the former Labor Government in portfolios including Transport, Environment & Climate Change, Energy, Corrective Services, Industrial Relations, Commerce and Special Minister of State.
As Secretary of Unions NSW from 2001 - 2008, John took a principled stance on a number of issues including advocating for Refugee rights, opposing electricity privatisation and leading the Your Rights At Work campaign in the lead up to the 2007 federal election.

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