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Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

Rainbow region losing its colour

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Our beautiful area here on the northern rivers is called the Rainbow Region but I believe the rainbow is losing its colour, awe and attractiveness to tourists.

It may only be one per cent of the late-night partying crowd that cause problems with alcohol violence but the ripple from this causes a tidal wave through the remainder of the community.

I am lucky that my local business (for 25 years) only indirectly benefits from tourism. If I were a daytime or early-night trader I would be speaking out loudly to the few late-night traders to wake up and listen to the community .

A few bad eggs do spoil the holiday of our tourists and word of mouth plus media attention quickly deters others from coming. Think about the long-term effect on tourism and not the ‘quick buck’.

Another year has passed. Schoolies and summer holidays are almost here. It will be interesting to see what happens to our beautiful shire.

Geoff Bensley, Byron Bay

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  1. I just did the numbers – we reportedly and statistically see 1.5 million visitors per year, according to Police statistics there have been as few as 700 alcohol “related” incidents last year. Now, related means any alcohol consumed ” At All ” and then having an incident involving Police. either way as a percentage its 0.02% I think many people are getting tired of the constant barrage of letters and editorials inspired by single issue minority groups trying to influence the rest of us with erroneous statistics and fear mongering tactics.
    The reality is Byron Bay is as popular as ever and the huge well behaved crowds seen on our streets every day are testimony to the good reputation we have developed in spite of the negative reporting and subsequent bleating’s of those who don’t want visitors and don’t care about those invested in or employed by the visitor industry.
    If you want to help in any way, please use your energy to demand more Police on the beat at nights and demand better lighting and CCTV to assist with making our streets safer at night – just like anywhere else that has a vibrant night life and large numbers of people –

  2. It is a shame that Paul fails to recognise that we have a serious alcohol problem here in Byron Bay and a huge number of people in the community support the earlier cessation of the service of alcohol. More police, lighting and CCTV will not fix the problem. The tragic death of Thomas Kelly in Kings Cross is a perfect example of this. The perpetrator was caught but it did not prevent the violent assault from occurring in the first place. Paul seems to think that 700 assaults are acceptable but what is an acceptable number? In 2012 Byron Bay was 3rd on the NSW list of alcohol related violence behind Kings Cross and the Sydney CBD,which both receive a lot more tourists than us here in Byron Bay. It is time that the small minority of people profiteering from the late night sale of alcohol put the safety of locals and tourists before the almighty dollar.

  3. We are a town of only 10,000 or so residents and the rights and voices of the local community need to be heard and acknowledged on the issue of alcohol related violence. We have a much higher rate of alcohol related assault than the official statistics show given that only 30% of assaults are reported, and that % is even less if it is a sexual assault.

    We do have a lot of visitors and our economy is highly dependent on tourism. Our night life business model needs to change to one with less emphasis on alcohol. The needs of the whole of the Byron community should to be considered, including the tourism industry. Many of the residents who live close to town have to put up with drunk people urinating, defecating, vomiting, damaging their property, trespassing, and noise every weekend.

    The majority of stakeholders RECOGNISE that we have a problem with alcohol related violence and anti-social behaviour and are doing something about it. The Liquor Accord is reducing the amount of alcohol served by limiting the number and type of drinks served after midnight, prohibiting shots and implementing other RSA measures. More police are coming to town for Schoolies, and Bottle shops no longer sell 4 litre casks. The Council is trying to get funds for better lighting and developing a Vibrant Byron strategy. Our doctors, emergency staff, Last Drinks at 12 and many others in our community are asking that the bars close earlier as reducing the supply of alcohol after midnight is a proven strategy to reduce alcohol related violence. Together we can create a safe vibrant night life.


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