TAMWORTH pub and club operators have shown courage and commitment by putting people before profits and voting to introduce a raft of hardline new safety measures.
These are no token gestures.
The new regulations rank as some of the toughest in the state, if not Australia.
They include a blanket ban on shots and high-alcohol RTDs, a 12.30am lockout and a “barred from one, barred from all” policy for troublemakers.
By supporting the changes, publicans and club managers have guaranteed at least two vastly different outcomes.
Their businesses will forego revenue in the short-term and fewer people will become victims of random – and not-so- random – assaults.
For years Tamworth publicans have been accused of paying lip service to the alcohol-fuelled violence their venues helped feed.
But by unanimously backing such strong-arm changes, they have sent a thunderous message to police and the community.
These measures would not have been forced through without the passion and persistence of people like acting police commander Jeff Budd and council’s crime prevention committee chairman Cr Russell Webb.
The community, too, should take some credit for the outcome.
In the pages of The Leader, which ran a spirited campaign for action, readers have made their opinions known and become a harbinger of change.
What’s emerged has been a copybook example of how a community united, with the support of its leaders, can reshape the future.
Of course, no measures – short of alcohol prohibition – will completely eradicate tanked-up thugs belting innocent patrons and each other.
But by showing how serious they are about stemming the blood loss, publicans have established a new culture, its impact both symbolic and practical.
Our job now is to build on that culture and continue to reinforce the zero-tolerance approach to violence.
Our streets should be safe to walk at night and our pubs safe to drink in.
These new measures are a defining shot in a war that has been waged after-dark in our city for too long.
We can win that war.
And now we have the strong support of those supplying the ammunition to the enemy, we will.