CLAIMS made by the head of the Australian Hotels Association about the impact of recreational drugs in Orange should prompt a police response.
Yesterday the AHA chief Paul Nicolaou blamed drugs rather than pubs’ long trading hours for the alcohol related crime which many people, including some councillors, say is getting out of control.
Orange council has on its books a motion to consider the changes Newcastle introduced to alcohol sales which produced a dramatic reduction in crime.
It is possible that a similar regime of restrictions here will not produce the dramatic improvements that Newcastle had.
For one thing Orange already has in place some of the measures Newcastle has adopted, including co-operation between venues on a curfew after which pub goers will not be admitted.
It is not surprising that the head of industry body would be sceptical of a model which he says has closed half a dozen Newcastle pubs, but it is where he points the finger instead which is concerning.
Yesterday Mr Nicolaou suggested people primed with drugs like ecstasy before they went into a pub in Orange was a major part of the problem.
His solution was not to further restrict hotel trading but get more police out at night and clean up the recreational drug scene.
If the drug scene is as conspicuous a cause as he claims police should be able to have an impact quickly.
When the new council looks at alcohol policy and the wider issue of the increasing number of liquor outlets in Orange it should also seek police input.
If the police agree that mixing drugs with alcohol is widespread in Orange and part of the Friday and Saturday night culture then a change of tack is clearly needed.