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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Licence freeze welcomed

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The front page of The Echo this week tells us that president of the NSW Police Association, Scott Weber, feels it would be irresponsible to grant new licences for the sale of liquor in the region until the link between licence density and harm related to alcohol are made public.

Thanks to the actions of booze or drug-affected ‘adult’ humans, the public here have already been ‘casually’ informed of the effects.

A friend of mine has had her shop window smashed in yet again, as have many others in Byron town over the last few nights. Every time this happens the landlords of these premises have to fix yet another plate-glass window.

I was recently related the story of a family leaving the cinema in town, feeling too unsafe to go out into the street, as it was occupied by aggressive young people who they felt may have been under the influence something.

The centre of Byron is now notoriously dangerous at night time, particularly at weekends; the taxi rank is a place people are wary of as it is in an area close to where fights often break out, and even waiting for a taxi to get safely home is an issue.

Parents commonly advise their young adult children to wait at the venue they have chosen to go to for a taxi, rather than go to the rank.

Despite all of this, we still have a current application for a Woolworths-owned Dan Murphy’s liquor store.

Please, can the people who are making these decisions take a good look at their current wealth, their bank accounts and what they own, pull out their overseas holiday pics, take stock of their lives, look deep inside themselves and weigh that up against the effect that another huge booze outlet will have on the town of Byron Bay, on visitors, families and local people in general?

Please, could these people be content with what they have? Please, could they back-pedal and make some changes before there is more serious damage done.

Please, install your closed-circuit TV cameras in the name of progress if you must, but don’t do that without curtailing the addition of another outlet to supply cheaper and more available grog.

Acknowledge the contradictions in providing volunteer youth services to our local young people to keep them safe at night while they learn the hard lessons of what it is to party, while the powers that be provide the cheap and plentiful alcohol to do it.

I would like to finish off by saying that I shall myself enjoy going out dancing this weekend. I will have a few drinks with my friends, and that will not hurt anyone.


Jack Hannigan

Byron Bay

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  1. Correct one if I am wrong: but would not refusing to grant other persons a liquor license in Byron Bay also prevent competition from more responsible licensees – persons desirous of opening a licensed music venue that: (a) does not tolerate – let alone facilitate – excessive consumption of alcohol on premises; (b) implements a strict code of conduct – including dress code; (c) has a parquet dance floor – NOT stone (bad for the joints/spine and deadly to the good shoes), drink soaked (slippery), glass covered (dangerous) dance floor – on which patrons are permitted to dance wildly with glass (including bottles) in hand; (d) that has food and hot non-alcoholic beverages being served until 30 minutes before closing – from being able to open in Byron Bay?

    Bring on the competition – Byronians might end up with a classy music venue that excludes ‘shit faced’ violent bogans (including the bogan from Pottsville who slapped this middle aged woman across the head and roughly messed my hair with her beer covered hand in the Backroom of the Northern).

    Consequent of whinging too loudly about the failure of the proxy licensee – Amber Jones – to meet her “duty of care”, this non-drinker has been barred/banned from the Northern Hotel; thus, due to the association between the two venues – also barred/banned from the Rails – and all music/gigs at those two venues. Demonstrated attitude of the Booz Barons: you don’t like the way we do business – no gigs/music for you. Thus I have a personal need for a new venue to open with a more responsible licensee.

    The Venue in St Kilda was operated by three ‘boys who spoke Italian’; one in charge of the booz, one in charge of the food and one in charge of the music/bands (once upon a time, my housemate). Admission fee included a choice of half a dozen ‘free’ entree size meals (cooked by an Italian Mama – thus yummy); no glass/drinks were permitted on the dance floor; if you were not dancing – you are not on the dance floor either (prevents bully boys from ‘bricking’ the dancing damsels); if you even looked remotely ‘shit faced’ – it was time to leave upon first polite request by pleasant bar or floor staff (or the security would show you the door less politely).

    Restricting competition is not the solution to the problem. To the contrary, restricting competition will ensure the continuation of the current situation.


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