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Health Groups Call For Sydney-Style Lockouts In Melbourne

A push for Victoria to follow NSW’s lead in introducing stricter laws regulating alcohol consumption, including 1:30am lockouts, 3am last drinks, and a statewide closure of bottle shops from 10pm, is being lead by a coalition of health groups looking to curb the detrimental effects of alcohol.

The Age reports groups including the Victorian branches of the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, and the Cancer Council of Australia have applauded NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell‘s reforms and say they are necessary to reduce the harm of alcohol abuse.

In addition to fuelling violent street attacks, Cancer Council Victoria chief executive Todd Harper told the paper that overconsumption of alcohol is causing longer-term harm, with around 5,000 cases of cancer in Australia each year attributed to long-term chronic abuse of alcohol.

The groups are lobbying state politicians to commit to measures to reduce alcohol-related harm before the November state election. Their suggested measures are modelled on Sydney’s live music-harming reforms and, according to The Age, include:

  • A 3am curfew on serving alcohol in pubs and clubs, with restrictions on particular drinks including doubles after midnight.
  • A 10pm closing time for bottle shops, particularly in entertainment precincts, to stop people loading up on alcohol before or after attending licensed venues.
  • Extending a freeze on new late-night licences.
  • Improving the ability of communities to limit the number of packaged liquor outlets.
  • The Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association have joined the call for tougher liquor licensing legislation ahead of election time, with the group’s Sam Biondo telling ABC News, “The burden of disease is really significant as related to this legal product. So something needs to be done.”

    NSW introduced their reforms, which included 1:30am lockouts and 3am last drinks for Sydney venues, as well as a statewide ban on the sale of takeaway alcohol after 10pm, last month, and have cited a lack of incidents during the Sydney Mardi Gras as an indicator of success.

    But, as Tone Deaf reports, the laws have meant anything but success for Sydney’s venue owners, with some licensees forced to cut costs and staff due to the financial losses incurred because of the reforms. The industry reacted with furore when news first broke of the impending legislation.

    “We don’t want live music venues to close because they’ve been lumped in with venues whose sole purpose is to sell booze,” said MusicNSW’s Kirsty Brown during a community forum organised by members of the Sydney Late Night Culture Alliance last month, as reported by Tone Deaf.

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