THE premier has backed Tamworth’s solution to combat alcohol-fuelled violence, saying other areas could take a leaf out of the city’s book.
Barry O’Farrell announced tough new laws earlier this week to clampdown on licensed venues in Sydney, as well as bottle shop trading restrictions across the state, new police powers and mandatory sentencing for drunk or drug-induced coward punches.
Mr O’Farrell said the tailored Tamworth measures were to be commended.
“There is a voluntary accord in operation here in Tamworth, and like Manly, it sees hotels having lockouts at 12.30 to deal with the same issue we’re dealing with in Sydney,” he said.
“So communities across the state, through the accord process and publicans working with police, can put in place similar changes.”
On his first visit to Tamworth since the new rules were introduced in December, Mr O’Farrell gave the package his tick of approval.
“Look, I congratulate the local area commander here in Tamworth for his efforts in working with publicans and other licensed venues to introduce this voluntary accord that seeks to deal in Tamworth with the same problems we’re dealing with in Sydney,” he said.
“It’s just that in Sydney we couldn’t get the liquor industry to come on board.”
The Tamworth solution includes 12.30am lockouts, a ban on shots, restrictions on the sale of high
alcohol-content pre-mixed and energy drinks late at night as well as a “barred from one, barred from all” policy – stricter measures than what’s on offer from the government’s proposals.
The rules were scripted in conjunction with police and council before being signed off by local liquor accord members.
Already police have praised the restrictions during the country music festival - with the new measures to face their biggest test this Australia Day long weekend.
And while he back the local rules, Mr O’Farrell wouldn’t go as far to pushing them on other towns.
“Publicans, police and the public through their councils have the means now to put in place voluntary liquor accords that seek to address issues of alcohol and drug-fuelled violence occurring in local communities,” he said.
“One size will not fit all but if communities, publicans and police aren’t prepared to work together to do that, under this legislation the state government will have the power to do it for them.”
Parliament has been recalled to vote on the government’s proposed laws next Thursday.