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Byron Shire
March 25, 2023

Midnight closure and tourism

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Nicqui Yazdi, Byron Bay

The idea that our clubs and pubs should close their doors, or stop serving their patrons, at midnight is just not reasonable.

We keep hearing about the measures undertaken in Newcastle, but the reality of Newcastle was that the clubs there had 5am licences and the measures introduced there actually moved the closing times to 3.30am, not midnight.

The reality here in Byron, is that we have fewer than a handful of clubs with 3am licences. The majority of the alcohol issues here actually occur on the streets, not in the clubs, and yet they are the ones that are blamed for those incidents.

Byron Bay is a tourist town yes, and yes, those tourists often drink to excess, both in their apartments, on the streets, in the parks and in our pubs and clubs, but the only place where their drinking behaviours are actually observed, monitored and dealt with if they are over-intoxicated, is in the pubs and clubs.

Earlier closures won’t stop the drinking, but it will mean an increase of drinking in places where there is no supervision.

Entertainment keeps people occupied; take that away and it could have a detrimental effect on not only our tourist trade, but also on the level of violence on our streets too. No-one really knows, do they?

But midnight closures would guarantee Byron of one thing: it would mean that some businesses would just simply close, and there would be loss of jobs for locals employed in the late-night entertainment industry, an industry that exists in every single town and city.

Young people when they’re occupied are less likely to cause trouble, and it is the clubs and pubs that provide the night-time entertainment here.

We need to start looking at more than just blaming these venues for the problems here. Yes, alcohol is the issue, but it is an issue that is caused by the tourism industry here and the image of Byron as a party town.

Our local community should not have to suffer the loss of entertainment here just because those tourists coming here do not respect themselves or our town.

This is what we need to be pushing for more here: respect of our community and self-respect from those visiting here.

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