15 January, 2016 14:25
CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
A recent study conducted by the Licensing Inquiries and Testing For Australian Management (LitFam) ombudsman shows the New South Wales’ state government has gone completely the wrong way about dealing with rates of alcohol-related violence in the CBD.
The LitFam report identifies key strategies used to prevent the rise in one-punch, two-punch, all-in, and coward punch assaults throughout Australian capital cities.
“I think what you’ll find is the perceived rise in assaults is mostly a result of the media deciding that a drunken brawl outside a Sydney hotel is more important than the fact there is currently over 6.5 million stateless human beings dying from exposure in the Middle East,” says Byron Van Arkle, lead researcher and director of Litfam.
“The media plays a massive role in how the government legislates against societal issues. Particularly when everyone begins thinking that our entire city streets are filled with homicidal maniacs who can’t wait to punch you from behind,”
“If you can put the words “coward-punch” in at least 18 headlines a week, you are going to be able to change the law,”
Professor Van Arkle went on to describe how the Star Casino, Sydney’s premier gambling destination, was able to keep itself outside of the new CBD lock-out zoning that were brought in last year.
“Star City were much more efficient at tackling the rates of drunken violence prior to the lock-out laws,”
“They did wonders in keeping the rates lower than any other venues, simply by not reporting them”
With NSW Premier Mike Baird now boasting a 42%* decline in alcohol-related assaults – it is clear that the venues on the south-side of Darling Harbour could have done a lot more to protect their now closed-down businesses.
“They really should have followed the Casino’s route,”
“Occupy an entire heritage listed peninsula of Sydney’s harbourside, knock down the old warehouses and workers cottages, build a giant air-conditioned casino, and assure the police that you are able to handle the security operations,”
Under the government’s violent venues scheme, another set of restrictions also apply to any venue that records more than 19 alcohol-related assaults in a year.
However, the Star has been exempt from the violent venues scheme since its inception in 2008.
The Star is also exempt from the “Three Strikes” scheme under which venues face loss of their liquor licence for repeated breaches of licensing laws.
“The only assaults that have happened in that entire district was the bloke that got flogged by the bouncers on the street the other night. That was just a general slip-up. Had it happened 20 metres inside the venue, it wouldn’t have counted,”
“The key to lowering assaults is to not report them,”
“Thousands of alleged assaults can happen anywhere but if they aren’t reported then they don’t count. The same goes for deaths,”
According to the parlaiment of New South Wales, there is no formal obligation under the Casino Control Act 1992 or the Internal Controls of The Star, for The Star Casino to report any deaths that occur at the Casino, whether suspected suicides or otherwise, to the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority. However, Government inspectors at the Casino have access to detailed internal reports prepared by The Star, which would ordinarily include reference to deaths that occur at the Casino and the broader Casino precinct – if they choose to do so.
“If the government doesn’t ask questions, then no one needs to know. The first step is to not report any assaults of deaths to the media. That’s what the Star is good at doing,”
“As far the general public are concerned, no one gets hurt inside their venue, and it’s a safer place than the city streets.
“They have kept the information regarding alcohol-voilence secured and are able to continue operating well past midnight,”
“That’s not to mention the amount of broken punters that top themselves in their hotel rooms and toilets,”
- Mike Baird’s “statistics” are based on solely on the one nightlife strip of Kings Cross, which also is down 95% in patronage, meaning the rate of drunken assaults has actually risen since the lock-out laws were implemented.