According to media reports, the Government is considering lifting lockout restrictions in the Sydney CBD, but leaving them in place in Kings Cross. The media reports precede the release of the final report of a cross-party committee looking at Sydney’s night-time economy, which is due in Parliament by the end of the month.
ACEM President Dr Simon Judkins said it is disappointing and concerning to hear that the NSW Government wants to take this course of action given there is strong evidence for retaining the laws in their current form, and that alcohol-related harm has significantly reduced since their introduction.
“Loosening the lockout laws would be a step in the wrong direction,” said Dr Judkins.
“Risks to the public will increase, including through greater likelihood of assaults, head injuries, alcohol-fuelled aggression and more congestion in Emergency Departments (EDs).
“I am also concerned that ED staff will face a return to alcohol-fuelled abuse, physical threats and feeling unsafe at work – all of which is entirely preventable.
“Winding back Sydney’s lockout laws would only serve to boost the alcohol industry and is not in the interests of individual or community health.”
ACEM NSW Faculty Chair Dr Chris Trethewy said: “It is disappointing the NSW Government has chosen to flag a wind back ahead of the public release of the committee’s report, rather than waiting to respond to the full report and recommendations.”
“The evidence is clear that the current policies regulating and restricting alcohol sales in the Sydney CBD save lives, reduce harm and at the very least should be retained,” said Dr Trethewy.
ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards. www.acem.org.au
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