When did the name Byron Bay get branded as a world famous party town? Sure it is world famous but for a lot more reasons than simply being a party town.
And is this an argument to justify becoming one of the most violent towns in NSW?
There is a broad spectrum of residents who live here. And living in such a small community with such divergent views only highlights the need for well-informed and intelligent debate in formulating policies around which we can all live.
The first step in developing good policy is to acknowledge and agree that there is an actual problem.
The fact that Byron is ranked sixth for alcohol-related non-domestic assault, fourth for disorderly conduct and second for liquor offences in NSW tells us that Byron has a problem.
These are actual cases. We as residents have to deal with this. Our businesses have to deal with this.
The scarce resources we do have in the police, nurses, doctors and paramedics who have to deal with these cases, day in day out.
The pressure and stress this places on our community as a whole has to be balanced against this perceived ‘right’ to party.
Assuming the problem of alcohol-fuelled violence and anti-social behaviour is accepted (these are police statistics) then the first step surely is to identify and prioritise potential solutions.
If you read the research papers and studies on this and compile a short list, the single most effective proven measure is to modestly reduce trading hours of those venues that supply alcohol.
To trial other such measures that have not proven effective elsewhere is simply not stepping up to address the problem.
Byron offers a lot more than the hundreds of other family-oriented holiday towns referred to.
It was world famous well before extended trading hours beyond 12am were granted.
Even the mayor acknowledges that from a tourism perspective these proposed measures would be positive for the broader local economy.
The other additional measures proposed by Last Drinks at 12 have also been the subject to the same review.
They are the same additional measures proposed by both the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and the NSW ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance (NAAPA).
Stephen Eakin, Byron Bay