16 March, 2016. 17:04
ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
IN RESPONSE TO THE LATEST senseless killing in Melbourne’s caffeine district, the Victorian government is set to introduce sweeping new measures to keep the public safe – similar to Sydney’s controversial lockout laws.
The body of Joe Acquaro, 55, was discovered on a footpath near a popular cafe, on the corner of Lygon and St Phillip streets in central Melbourne earlier this week.
Police are investigating links that the murder is related to Acquaro’s involvement in the city’s notorious cafe scene.
The legislation being drafted by lawmakers will call for an end to coffee service at 9 pm.
No espresso or macchiato variants are to be served after 5 pm. Double shots will also cease at this time.
Between 6 pm and 9 pm, only tall flat whites, cappuccinos and affogatos can legally be offered to patrons.
“Too many cafe owners and patrons have died,” said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
“Over the past thirty years in Melbourne, dozens of people linked to the cafe industry have been shot, bashing or killed. It’s time to do something.”
A caffeine exclusion zone will exist in the affluent suburbs of Collingwood, Carlton and parts of Richmond, with the possibility of it being expanded in the future.
The number of caffeine licences will also half by 2017.
However, many in the Melbourne cafe industry have lashed out at the kneejerk response by the Andrews government. One cafe owner has called the proposed new laws “extremely harmful” and “so fucking Sydney”.
“By forcing revellers out of the coffee district by 9 pm, you’re only going to create a bigger problem,” said Bar Nuccio owner Cenzo Scarpala.
“This will only force the senseless killings out into the suburbs, where families live. The whole thing smells a bit fishy to me. After 9 pm, the only place you’ll be able to get a good coffee in Melbourne is at the Crown.”