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Yet Another City Is Pushing For Lockout Laws

Sydney seems to be leading the way in terms of lockout laws – first there were calls for Melbourne to adopt the 1am lockout and 3am last drinks rules, then Queensland got on board, and now lobby groups are pushing for Canberra to introduce them.

As The Canberra Times reports, the ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance, which includes 47 different organisations, are pushing for the same laws as Sydney after a burst of alcohol-related violence in the country’s capital.

Alcohol-related violence is reportedly on the rise in the city despite the government trying a number of reforms. In Canberra’s emergency departments, there has been a 35 percent increase in intoxication cases and a 24 percent increase in alcohol-related injuries over the past three years.

“The purpose of these measures is to reduce the availability of alcohol during late night trade to reduce high levels of alcohol harms,” the alliance’s submission to the government said.

“It is expected that licensees would experience a change in business after the introduction of late night trading restrictions.”

Currently in Canberra, bars and clubs are allowed to stay open from 7am to midnight unless they submit to stay open later. 89 venues now remain open after midnight with 48 of those still open after 3am.

“The impact of this harm is reflected in alcohol-related emergency department presentations in ACT, with more than 18 people a day presenting because of an alcohol-related injury,” the submission further noted.

The submission doesn’t just focus on lockout laws, it also suggests that alcohol stores should boost the price on cheap sales, banning discount vouchers.

Additionally, the alliance has suggested the first “scores on doors” scheme in Australia, which would require venues to display their risk rating to patrons based on the amount of unlawful behaviours reported on the premises.

In addition to submissions backing these measures, there have been naysayers. Australia’s third biggest supplier of alcohol Diageo negated the policies saying that they “discourage responsible drinkers but which do little to deter troublemakers or people who misuse alcohol.”

Even noted shock-jock Alan Jones has come out criticising lockout laws, railing against the NSW policy on his 2GB radio station this morning. “They’ve sucked the life out of the city. King’s Cross is now a ghost town,” he said. “Venues have had to shut, and people are out of work. All it does it force drunks out onto the street and into the suburbs. It doesn’t stop the violence.”

This weekend, Queenslanders are spearheading three simultaneous ‘Save Our Nightlife’ protests against the state’s planned lockout laws, after thousands of people in Sydney took to the streets for the ‘Reclaim The Streets’ festival in protest of current lock out laws in place in the city’s CBD. See some images of that below.

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