Thursday 30 August 2012, 6.30pm at the Holiday Inn, Victoria St

Responses from residents and experts to the O’Farrell Government’s proposed measures to reduce alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour in Kings Cross.

Expert speakers: Michael Thorn, Director of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE); Dr Alex Wodak, local resident and local hero who for 30 years led the Alcohol and Drug Service at St Vincents Hospital; Dr Michael Glicksman, representing the Australian Medical Association; Anthony Shakeshaft, Deputy Director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre UNSW and author of A Study of Alcohol-Related Crime in Kings Cross and Darlinghurst, and one of the few people familiar with the impact of council’s 'extended hours trading precincts'; and Tony Brown, lawyer and leader of Newcastle’s success in reducing violence by almost 40% by changing closing times; as well as local residents Margaret Harvie, a planner with twenty years experience, and Lucas Crabtree, architect and President 2011 Residents Association. Chaired by Jo Holder who is, with Margaret Harvie, a long-term resident member of the Kings Cross Community Safety Precinct Committee.

Resolution on Safety and Good Order in Kings Cross —
To adopt the 10-Point Plan to Reduce Alcohol-Related Harms in NSW put forward by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE). Adopted by unanimous resolution.

The Plan represents a complete solution for the people and communities of NSW; it is comprehensive and based on the current evidence base and best practice of what works to reduce alcohol-related harms.

The Ten-Point Plan

Point 1. Wind back late night trading hours:
That the NSW Government legislate to introduce a 12-month statewide trial of the reduction of trading hours based on the Newcastle alcohol restrictions, including:

i. a common 3.00am closing time for all pubs and clubs with extended trading license conditions across NSW;
ii. lockouts at all extended-trading licensed premises from 1.00am; and
iii. the trial should be independently evaluated to ascertain the social, health, crime and economic effects of these trading controls. The data collection requirements for this independent evaluation should be in place from the commencement of the 12-month trial.

Background: The tragic death of 18-year-old Thomas Kelly was a wake-up call. On 17 July the Sydney Morning Herald held a 'Safer Sydney' forum. Residents, and the majority of the keynote speakers at the forum, said the mix is wrong, with too many pubs and bars open too many hours. The result of alcohol deregulation is more extreme binge drinking, more extreme violence and more hospital admissions! The overwhelming scientific evidence is that the most effective harm reduction measures are early lockouts and closing.

Kings Cross is the densest residential area in Australia. Before 2007, only 200 metres of Darlinghurst Road ('the strip') could trade around the clock. In 2007, Council introduced a Late Night Trading Precincts scheme — mandating KX, Oxford and George Streets for open slather over an expanded area. Now over 33 liquor venues can trade 24 hours in Kings Cross. This is a classic 'planning conflict'.

Saturation point has been reached and exceeded — and the Police agree.

Hosted by resident groups Darlinghurst DRAG and 2011 Residents Association