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Byron Shire
March 8, 2021

Topless bar on hold

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The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) has put a brake on plans to open a topless bar in Byron Bay until it can consider a community impact statement on the potential effects of the venue in the town.

Owners of the premises have been attempting to transfer an existing restaurant licence to operate the venue and extend the trading hours until 7am.

And as the community continues its battle to get on top of alcohol-related violence in the Bay, the Byron Liquor Accord has announced it will continue its trial of tougher new conditions for at least another six months.

While it is up to the proposed venue’s owners to prepare a community statement, Byron mayor Simon Richardson told media this morning he would like to see the council prepare a document of its own to present to the ILGA.

The authority’s CEO Michael Brody told ABC this morning the licence would not be granted unless it was satisfied the overall impact of the bar was ‘not detrimental to the wellbeing of the community’.

He added that the bar would not be able to operate on a provisional licence in the meantime.

Byron mayor Simon Richardson, who is preparing a mayoral minute on the matter for today’s council meeting, said he expects Council will oppose the 7am licence application.

Meanwhile Byron Bay Liquor Accord spokesperson Hannah Spalding told local media this morning that the group would continue its trial of tougher new conditions into the summer months.

Ms Spalding said that in the later part of the trial there was ‘100 per cent compliance’ with the terms ‘from all those who signed up for them’.

She told ABC radio this morning that ‘from January to June there has been a 25 per cent reduction [in alcohol-related violence] year on year, which is very positive’.

She acknowledged, however, that statistics had jumped during August and September, which she attributed to ‘a massive increase in tourism… in comparison to previous years’.

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  1. The statement by Ms Spalding says that there is 25% less alcohol-related violence in Byron Bay from January to June. Is this being compared to the same period in 2012 or all of 2012?

    I believe that the upcoming summer holiday period From October to the end of December will have numbers far exceeding those of the January to June period and unless we have more police or CCTV installed in the “black-spots” the alcohol-related violence will increase.
    One reason the % is down, is that the Byron Bay festivals are no longer in Byron Bay.
    They have been moved to the north of the shire, therefore less people to cause trouble in the Bay itself.

  2. Alcohol-related violence can only increase if people do not have places to go to drink and end up thrown in the streets when they are inhebriated. To change this hypocritical relationship demonstrated by Australians to drinking would need a deep cultural metamorphosis and clearly it will not be achieved by more police and more CCTV !!! May be it should start by being more permissive and provide venues where these pathetic drunks can find a shelter for their misery. Preventing violence (alcohol-related or not) will only be effective if we provide a space for it and not oppose it with more violence. To a booze fuelled individual being thrown out of an establishment into the street at midnight is an act of agression and violence. This will only cause more violence.
    Bars, pubs and other night venues should be allowed to be open all night to help prevent alcohol-related violence. Police would know where potential trouble spots are located and it would make their life a lot easier. Just like having brothels would help control and monitor health and safety issues. Drinking and sex cannot be stopped, but they can be given a safe framework that doesn’t endanger the common folk.

  3. I am confident that sanity will prevail……both the lay and political communities of byron shire have worked hard and long for many many many years to keep any new additions of mindlessness and social destruction out of the shire…….this kind of sustained effort and commitment cannot be countered so easily by a depraved quest for $$$$ at any price……


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