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April 19, 2021

Pub lockout laws may not work: study

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A new study challenges the effectiveness of controversial lockout laws from bars and clubs, such as were implemented in Byron Bay in 2013.

The study, by law lecturer Dr Mark Giancaspro from the University of Adelaide, suggests lockout laws may not be the reason alcohol arrests have declined in that city – or a number of other Australian cities where they have been introduced.

Lockouts, which have been implemented in many communities in recent years, have been cited by supporters as the primary reason for a decline in alcohol-related violence.

But in his study, which was published in the Alternative Law Journal this month, Dr Giancaspro looked at a number of cities where the lockouts had been implemented and came to the conclusion that they were ineffective.

For example, he writes that Queensland ’s 3am lockout was ‘condemned in a parliamentary inquiry in 2010.

‘One criminology expert labelled the law “a complete, absolute 100 per cent failure”,’ Dr Giancaspro said.

‘The 2am lockout trialled in Melbourne in 2008 was similarly shown to have little impact upon alcohol-fuelled antisocial behaviour and was promptly abolished. In fact, there were claims that incidents of assault had increased following the introduction of the lockout,’ he added.

‘The data relating to the lockout laws in Perth and Sydney does not paint a clear picture either way.’

Dr Giancaspro believes an increased police presence and a limit on the types of drinks served late at night are more likely to be behind the 25 per cent drop in alcohol-fuelled violence on Adelaide’s streets.

‘These include: requiring licensed venues to use particular forms of glassware; limiting the drink varieties they can sell at certain times; providing first aid officers and public transport information; and better managing queues outside their premises,’ he said.

‘There is no obvious and systematic correlation between the introduction of lockout laws and a reduction in incidences of alcohol-related violence,’ Dr Giancaspro added.

Byron Bay’s Liquor Accord was widely credited with a 13 per cent reduction in alcohol-related incidents in 2014, a year after it was implemented. But there was no attempt to separate out the proportion attributed to lockouts.

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  1. This report unfortunately appears to misquote or not understand the outstanding peer reviewed scientific research of Prof. Peter Miller et al, Prof Kypri and others of the effectiveness of the modest reduction in late trading hours to prevent alcohol related violence based on studies in Newcastle, Norway etc.

    Lockouts better described as “one way doors”, by themselves are problematic. But they should be considered as part of a package of effective life and cost saving measures proven to prevent alcohol related violence and associated harms.

    Best real thing Byron can do is a modest reduction in your 3am closures and effective enforcement of RSA. Don’t need more costly police deployments paid for by the community not the industry



  2. This is not ‘research’ and does an exceptionally poor job of reporting the issues. I was mentioned and quoted in the report, but the author did not contact me or reference my work, just replicates text from an extremely selective set of quotes by a journalist. I consider it very low brow work and not evidence whatsoever.

    We need to extremely careful when considering such pieces-this one is not a helpful contribution in my opnion.

  3. What a load of spin this so called Dr writes. The collaboration of the Byron Liquor Accord,Byron Shire Council,Last Drinks in Byron,Youth Activity Centre and a few other groups worked to fixing the alcohol attributed violence that reached boiling point at the end of 2012.How quickly we forget how out of control our town had become .
    Stick with the lockouts to keep our town safe and to deter the drinking culture fools from taking over our town after midnight.

  4. This flimsy study is a poor study and it’s conclusion is erroneous. One only need to look at the extraordinary results in the reduction of violent crime in the Sydney lock-out zones since the curfews have been in place. It is irrefutable, overwhelming and utterly convincing. Anyone who tries to discredit it needs to be closely examined for their links to the alcohol industry. I usually find there is vested interest in challenging good science.


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