Laws no silver bullet for drunken violence

TWO of Orange’s long-term licensees say measures to be introduced into State Parliament by Premier Barry O’Farrell will not be an instant remedy to alcohol-related violence.

Royal Hotel licensee and Australian Hotels Association Orange delegate Tony McClure says the liquor industry put the Premier’s current proposals of monitoring drug and alcohol-related violence outside licensed premises on the table five years ago.

“We (AHA) put $100,000 on the table back then to look at a trial and as far as I known the government hasn’t taken us up on the offer,” he said.

He says the lockout of licensed premises in Sydney, particularly at Kings Cross, will simply move the problem to another area.

Orange Liquor Accord  chairman and Kelly’s Hotel licensee Bill Kelly agrees.

“You will have thousands of people milling around in the one area of Kings Cross when public transport has effectively wound down and they will be hanging around with no way to get home. It’s a recipe for trouble,” he said.

Mr McClure described Mr O’Farrell’s moves to recall Parliament next week to put through new laws as “policy on the run”.

“The courts have always had the power to put people away and fine them heavily for violence related to alcohol and drugs but they don’t use it,” he said.

“If someone can be fined up to $5000 they will get a fine of $500 or put on a bond, and then another bond when they do it again.”

Mr McClure regrets police do not have the powers they had in the past for dealing with anti-social behaviour.

“The problem is they can’t touch these people,” he said.

“Years ago the Sergeant would come along and give someone a good boot up the bum and send them home.

“All that’s gone out the window and our police get spat on and people try to fight them.”

Mr Kelly said he would watch with interest how the changes were implemented.

“Often with assaults police don’t catch a person until sometime after the offence, so how will they tell then if they were drug or alcohol affected?” he said.

Under Mr O’Farrell’s proposed changes bottle shops would close at 10pm, hotel patrons would be locked out by 1.30am and trading would cease at 3pm.

The government is also proposing a minimum eight years jail for a single punch that proves fatal.

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