Contrary to a suggestion that Last Drinks at 12 was prepared to accept alcohol service until 2am, the community-based group is maintaining its commitment to a midnight end of alcohol service in Byron Bay.
The group continues to welcome any constructive input Byron Shire Council mayor Simon Richardson may wish to exert on the Byron Bay Liquor Accord (BBLA) and Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (OLGR) to immediately introduce proven, cost-saving and enforceable alcohol harm prevention measures in Byron Bay.
Last Drinks at 12 has always remained open to collaborating with industry and government. We remain resolved to implementing the most effective package of proven evidence-based measures to achieve immediate and sustainable reductions in alcohol related harms and to preventing the increasing damage to our sensitive tourism economy.
Last Drinks at 12, however, has not reached any agreement with the Byron Shire mayor to water down its position of ceasing the supply of alcohol after midnight as reported recently in the media.
The latest information provided by the police is that the levels of alcohol-fuelled violence have again risen.
Last Drinks at 12 is committed to the implementation of the evidence-based approach to reducing the late night violence which means closing the bars earlier.
It is not our door the mayor should be knocking on to seek any real compromise.
To date, the five late-trading licensed premises have refused to accept any responsibility for some of the highest rates of alcohol-fuelled violence and other related harms in NSW.
All the blame is shifted on to patron behaviour, the weather and an influx of tourists whilst Byron Shire ratepayers are expected to pick up the tab.
At a recent meeting the BBLA refused to adopt the three voluntary measures recommended by OLGR which included closing bottle shops one hour earlier, ceasing trading an additional 15 minutes earlier than current licence conditions, and commencing the lockout at 1am rather than 1.30am.
This recalcitrance is severely tarnishing Byron’s national and international tourism reputation as a safe and inviting destination for all.
Mick O’Reagan, Last Drinks at 12