In his strongest statement yet about the late night drinking problems in Byron Bay, Ballina MP Don Page has made it clear he does not think the current restrictions put in place by the Byron Liquor Accord are sufficient to tackle the problem.
The MP has thrown his weight behind a call from Tweed-Byron acting inspector Saul Wiseman for the imposition of Newcastle style restrictions by the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR).
In fact, Mr Page says, Byron may need to go further than Newcastle for the town to be made safe at night.
And he has indicated he will approach OLGR to impose the regulations directly if he does not believe new proposals currently being discussed with the Liquor Accord are adequate deal with the issue.
Last week five people were assaulted in three separate incidents in the Bay, all of them after midnight.
‘If Byron Bay wants to get back its reputation as a laidback, safe holiday destination we have to put in place measures that address the problem,’ Mr Page said.
‘While the 2am lockout and the ban on street drinking near liquor venues are steps in the right direction, they are clearly not enough and more needs to be done.
‘Newcastle introduced a 3am closing time for all venues; lockouts at venues from 1.30am and restrictions on the sale of high alcohol content drinks (such as shots) after 10pm,’ Mr Page said.
‘We should be introducing similar or even tighter measures in Byron Bay.’
‘I know the Liquor Accord is currently examining new proposals and I commend them for that. However, if local liquor outlets cannot agree to seriously address the issues, I will approach the OLGR asking them to regulate conditions that address the problem,’ Mr Page said.
Last week OLGR served five Byron Bay venues with ‘show cause’ notices regarding practices that encourage the misuse and abuse of alcohol.
The previous week police announced a prominent Byron Bay venue had been caught out serving underage drinkers during schoolies week last year.