Sydney is about to become a living, breathing contradiction where by you can’t drink in licensed venues after 3am but you can on the street.
The City Of Sydney is planning to scrap 62 public alcohol-free zones with many of them falling right within the lockout zone like Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and Kings Cross.
There are currently 400 booze-free zones in the city, a figure which has risen from 149 in 2009. Sydney mayor Clover Moore seems to have changed her mind though in a move which could be designed to win over the young for the upcoming council elections while also allowing the city’s homeless population to drink in more centralised areas, rather than unmonitored laneways.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the council said that the crimes statistics in these booze-free zones are relatively low but NSW Police isn’t too happy about the plans.
They say the zones help prevent, “crimes such as malicious damage, stealing, offensive behaviour and acts of violence”.
“Removing alcohol-free zones makes the job of local police in these areas more difficult,” said Police Association of NSW boss Scott Weber.
The Libs, who instigated the lockout laws put in place two years ago, are with the police but Labor thinks that it’s a good idea to remove at least some of the bans, saying they have “criminalised those sleeping rough, and often fail to prevent problems they are seeking to address.”
“I’ll be talking closely with city communities to ensure alcohol-free zones recommended to continue, including those for Mardis Gras and in our major parks like Redfern park, continue to actually be necessary,” said Labor councillor Linda Scott.
City Of Sydney consulted the public earlier this year on the plans and received 117 submissions against alcohol-free zones and only 29 that were for them.
“The majority of the objections received related to the view that drinking did not necessarily always lead to anti-social behaviour and that the creation of zones in residential streets and parks is infringing on the ability of citizens to responsibly drink an alcoholic beverage in a public place,” stated City documents.
Councillors are due to vote on the move next week.