Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson was reported last weekend as saying that Last Drinks at 12 would be bad for business and would promote Byron Bay as a ‘poster town for the nanny state’.
While he provides no evidence that it would be bad for business, there is irrefutable evidence that alcohol-induced violence is drastically reduced with every hour of earlier closing (or serving of alcohol).
If Cr Richardson had paid attention at the Last Drinks at 12 meeting in the packed Community Centre theatre on 24 August, he would have seen some very distressing images and statistics that illustrate the dreadful trauma and costs to our society caused by excessive consumption of alcohol.
At least we now know where his allegiances lie. Not with our youth, nor with our community. Has he not attended numerous community meetings since New Years Eve and heard the constant and often anguished refrain from residents?
So many of us are no longer willing to tolerate the damaging and disruptive effects of living in a non-stop party town.
It’s also interesting that our mayor sees the life-affirming, harm-minimising initiative of Last Drinks at 12 as ‘nanny state’ politics.
Surely taking care of each other is what Byron is about, not booze and bashings.
It appears the mayor has chosen to support the liquor industry over the interests of the local community.
Our young people particularly are exposed to violence, intimidation and sexual assault on a regular basis as a result of excessive alcohol consumption.
This is not hearsay, but is information provided by local police, doctors, health and youth workers.
Based on the statistical results of the Newcastle experience, where community action prompted the introduction of earlier closing hours, Last Drinks at 12 will dramatically reduce alcohol-induced violence on our streets.
How can Simon Richardson not support it?
Louise Andrews, Byron Bay