22.6 C
Byron Shire
February 2, 2023

Last Drinks attacks Byron NYE plan

Latest News

Food prices are up, and so is…

I was shocked to see the cost of local bread I buy in Mullumbimby had risen 40 per cent. That particular loaf is becoming a luxury item.

Other News

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Have your Perfect Say

Here in the Byron Shire our crisis is so famous it’s made international news. It’s been in the US Rolling Stone even. It’s been in documentaries. It’s been in The Guardian. It’s what we live with here – every day. We live in a community where there is nowhere to live and the whole world is watching what we do next, wondering if we will do what their super star tourist destinations did and regulate the housing market. People in places like Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Miami found out that tough regulations actually aren’t bad for business after all. That’s just property market profiteering propaganda.

Medicinal cannabis; a better way forward

For the first time ever, I am living my truths and no one is trying to hurt me because of it. This is a much better way. 

Lismore City Council’s awards ceremony

Sophia Watt was named Lismore City Council’s 2023 Citizen of the Year at an awards ceremony held at the Goonellabah Sports & Aquatic Centre yesterday.

Elanora woman murdered – police seek sightings of Ford Laser

Detectives investigating the murder of 61-year-old Wendy Sleeman are appealing to anyone who may have seen or captured vision...

Food prices are up, and so is…

I was shocked to see the cost of local bread I buy in Mullumbimby had risen 40 per cent. That particular loaf is becoming a luxury item.

TELSTRA – The end of the line?

I live in a valley that was ravaged by flood last year. Telegraph poles were swept out of the...

Chris Dobney

The Last Drinks at 12 coalition has taken the extraordinary step of opposing Byron Shire Council’s plans for a safe and sober family New Years Eve.

The group has described the council’s measures as a ‘very costly, reactive approach’, which they say will do nothing to help prevent ‘the high levels of intoxication after midnight’.

And they have gone even further, attacking Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson personally for his roadblock plan, arguing that even though it had worked successfully before it would have had ‘implementation’ problems this time around.

The RMS withdrew its permission to maintain the roadblocks out of concern it would lead to increased traffic problems on the Pacific Highway.

Mayor Richardson said he was ‘mystified’ and ‘disappointed’ by the comments, from a group ‘I agree with 99.9 per cent’.

‘Byron Council’s campaign for a safe summer in the Bay fails to address the key element of alcohol-related violence: the oversupply of alcohol after midnight,’ the group said in a media release yesterday.

‘Cr Richardson’s proposed strategy of closing off roads into town was successfully implemented in the 90s. However, in 2013, this strategy was known to have implementation problems. There was always doubts that Council would get the necessary authorities required,’ they wrote.

‘Mayor Richardson maintains Byron Shire was trying its utmost to ensure that the trashing of the streets and antisocial behaviour does not occur this New Years Eve.

‘Yet instead of adopting proven, cost-saving measures to help prevent the high levels of intoxication after midnight, the mayor has resorted to the very costly, reactive approach of more police to pick up the predictable pieces,’ the group wrote.

Cr Richardson said he was mystified by the group’s attack.

‘I don’t know why they’re deciding  I’m the enemy in this situation. Anyone who knows me knows I spoke against Dan Murphy’s, I was an important player in the topless venue fight, I volunteer at schoolies…

‘My only point of disagreement with Last Drinks at 12 is that I think 12 is too early. I’m open to a later time, which I understand half that group is as well.’

Last Drinks at 12 said the inclusion of Cheeky Monkey’s this week on the state’s most violent venues register was evidence ‘our Council is still not focusing on what needs to occur’.

‘If Byron Shire Council really wants to make Byron Bay a “family-friendly”, chilled-out place to celebrate NYE, it needs to address the basic causes of alcohol-related harm: the late-night oversupply of booze.

‘The antisocial behaviour caused by extreme drunkenness is not a problem that will be solved by extra police. The police themselves have acknowledged this repeatedly.

‘It’s a problem that needs to be tackled by cost-effective, proven measures including a reduction in late-night trading hours and limits on alcohol sales.’

But Mayor Richardson said the council was doing everything it could to dampen down late-night partying in the town over New Year’s Eve and that changing the licensing provisions of late-night venues was not within its power.

‘The granting, the monitoring, the withdrawal or not of liquor licences, none of them are within our scope of power,’ he said.

‘If you want to change the drinking culture to have as one of your first ports of call New Year’s Eve is a very big ask. New Year’s Eve is one of those nights that people who may never drink all year have a drink.

‘By its very nature the climax doesn’t happen till 12 o’clock, so everyone doesn’t go home at 12.01.’

The group will be holding a meeting of members and supporters at the Byron Bay Community Centre today from 4pm to 6pm.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. I agree with Simon – the council can’t do anything about the licence laws and he already does support change there. At least the idea of trying to discourage party people to Byron to NYE is a start. I remember how successful the last roadblock was in keeping hard drinkers out of town. It’s a shame we can’t do it again.

  2. Has Council contacted the licensing authority and requested that all alcohol sales be stopped after midnight on New Year’s Eve ? what has council done to address the authority to support police concerns and those of the community in any realistic way? Are we dealing with Simon Richardson’s personal opinions ?

  3. The point of the road blocks was to prevent an anti-social group of NYE visitors bringing their vehicles into the Bay loaded with booze and intent on causing trouble. No reduction in trading hours in Byron Bay would prevent that happening. This approach has proven successful in the past and would, at worst, have been revenue neutral.
    Neither the Mayor nor the Summer Safety Committee have control of the numbers of police assigned to Byron at any time. They are operational matters determined by the NSW Police. If Last Drinks had been privy to the ‘implementation’ problems ahead of time, they should have shared them with the Committee which was working in good faith to replicate ‘proven measures’ to deal with anti-social behaviour.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Abouchar honoured with Order of Australia

The new head of the Byron Community College (BCC), Chantal Abouchar, has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her contributions to business and the media.

Appeal for flag stolen from Bruns

The two Aboriginal flags that fly high over the Brunswick River Bridge on Invasion Day have become a potent symbol of survival and solidarity for many in the Shire. 

TELSTRA – The end of the line?

I live in a valley that was ravaged by flood last year. Telegraph poles were swept out of the ground by landslides and many...

Dear Byron Shire Council

Why, oh why, did you not add a traffic calming device when you recently sealed Clay Rd, Mullumbimby? This was a beautiful, quiet lane, that...