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Byron Shire
July 28, 2021

Alcohol-violence working group formed

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Hans Lovejoy

A working group has formed after a recent meeting between Byron Bay stakeholders wanting to address alcohol-related crime.

Held at Byron Shire Council Chambers in Mullumbimby, it was chaired by mayor Simon Richardson and included representatives from Council, Byron United, Last Drinks at 12, VIA Byron, local police and hospitals, Byron Bay Liquor Accord, Byron Youth Service and Save our Night Life.

Byron’s chamber of commerce (Byron United) president Paul Waters said the forum was a recommendation by his board to bring all stakeholders together and ‘begin a process by taking into account everyone’s position in the community’.

‘It was very clear that we all want the same result, and it’s also clear that more needs to be done on the streets where most of the trouble occurs.’ Additionally he’s calling all CBD businesses to light up the streets and back lanes around their businesses and to install their own CCTV around their businesses.

‘I also urge Council and state government to commit the resources that will make our streets safer.’

Mayor Simon Richardson told The Echo, ‘We all agreed we need to create a working group to develop a whole-of-town response, rather than fighting over individual aspects, eg opening/closing hours, lighting, CCTV, activation of laneways, diversifying the demographics etc’.

‘Instead, we need to consider all of [the issues] in a strategic and considered manner.

‘Cr Paul Spooner has put a notice of motion to Council outlining this.

‘It may be slower and more “committee-ish” than many want, but it is the only way to take the discussion away from a self-interested, black-and-white view currently shaping the debate.’

When asked if Council is close to receiving state and federal funding to improve lighting and CCTV, he told The Echo Council was ‘not really any closer at the moment, but staff and I are still working on it’.

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  1. Why do these private business interests assiduously avoid the conclusive independent evidence available that the most effective and cost saving measures proven to achieve sustainable and substantial reductions in alcohol related violence are modest reductions in late trading hours and other alcohol supply and service measures?

    This has to be the no.1 agenda item. Item no.2 – why should all us Byron ratepayers have to foot the huge primarily avoidable bill for the extraordinary alcohol clean up costs and worsen damage to our international tourism reputation whilst those licensed premises who profit from the dangerous oversupply and service of alcohol – escape scot free?

    This “tiptoe through the tulips” attitude masks and fails to address the massive power imbalance between the small cabal of just 6 late trading pubs and clubs backed by NSW government, OLGR, mayor and local member; and the interests of most of the local community, emergency workers and small businesses. The latter simply demand their streets at night be safe for all to responsibly enjoy and they have the key say in grog related decisions that impact upon them, their families and businesses.

  2. I think it might be time for people to seek advice on forming local vigilante groups. Or if that’s not legal, to hire licenced town-patrol security guards, ready to get to an assault or break-in very quickly.

  3. The alcohol lobby is but a vampire, feeding on the sexual energy of the young. The business community will wiggle with this statement, such is the nature of the ego when it is confronted by its own image.
    Bryon was once a place of upliftment, freedom and hope, now what has greed made of it?


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