Central West Lifeline CEO Stephanie Robinson and Bathurst Liquor Accord president Robert ‘Stumpy’ Taylor are unsure whether proposed new curbs on the sale of alcohol will actually reduce its harmful effects, including domestic violence.
Ms Robinson says those who abuse alcohol will find ways to buy it.
“I don’t think new regulations or an early closing of venues will make much difference,” Ms Robinson said.
“Alcohol consumption is a matter of choice.
“People need to be held accountable for their actions if they break the law.”
Ms Robinson said the existing alcohol laws should be enforced more strictly.
The NSW/ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance (NAAPA), an association of various health, community, emergency services and research organisations, is calling on the next NSW Parliament to prioritise the prevention of alcohol-related harm and associated costs in regional, rural and remote NSW.
“Regional, rural and remote communities experience disproportionate levels of alcohol harm, with domestic assaults 12 times higher in rural and remote regions compared to NSW as a whole,” NAAPA spokesman Tony Brown said.
People need to be held accountable for their actions.
“And the big killer in rural NSW is motor vehicle accidents, where alcohol is a factor in 85 per cent of crash fatalities compared to 17 per cent in major cities.”
NAAPA has also called for venues in regional areas to close earlier.
Bathurst Liquor Accord president Mr Taylor said bars or pubs in regional areas don’t want new laws or restrictions as they already close by 10pm.
“We have already cut two hours of serving,” Mr Taylor said.
“Alcohol is the most regulated industry in Australia.”
He said drugs are more responsible for anti-social behaviour than alcohol.
“We can only control the amount of liquor served to an individual, but we cannot control the person if he pops a pill in his mouth,” Mr Taylor said.
“We also can’t control things in people’s houses.”
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Member for Dubbo Troy Grant said some areas have developed local liquor accords to manage these issues, which can, at times, be stricter than similar metropolitan strategies.
“Such accords include a range of approaches, including mitigation measures at licensed premises as well as education and awareness campaigns,” Mr Grant said.