Freeze on booze hot spots - threat to liquor licences

| 25.06,09. 01:42 AM |

Freeze on booze hot spots - threat to liquor licences

June 25, 2009 12:00am

PREMIER Nathan Rees will announce a possible freeze on new liquor licences for violent hot spots in and around the city as a new task force meets today to tackle alcohol-related crime.

Kings Cross, Oxford St, Potts Point and southern parts of the CBD will be targeted, with fears that alcohol-related crime was getting out of control.

The Sydney Liquor Taskforce will meet for the first time today.

It is understood that it will consider a series of proposals including a freeze on new licences for those precincts identified as problem areas.

But it is unclear whether existing applications would be affected or if a deadline will be set for a ban.

It also will draw up boundaries for the hot spot precincts to be targeted by police, health and transport officials.

The task force will also examine:

*THE management of people in and out of the precincts in peak periods;

* POLICING issues;

* TRAINING for staff; and

* STUDY of impacts of licensing.

Mr Rees has come under intense lobbying by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore to act on trouble spots and will co-chair the task force with Ms Moore.

Rising violence in some parts of the CBD has been linked to alcohol.

Bureau of Crime Statistics data revealed that in the City Central/Kings Cross/Surry Hills precincts there were 2418 alcohol-related assaults that were not related to domestic violence.

But a licence freeze appears to clash with the Government's small bars legislation, which was designed to encourage more liquor licences for smaller venues in and around the CBD.

The task force comprises delegates from the Arts, Sport and Recreation Department, City of Sydney, police, the Premier's Department, NSW Health, Transport Ministry, AHA, Clubs NSW, Liquor Stores Association and Restaurant and Catering NSW/ACT.


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