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Liquor Licensing Restrictions to Address Alcohol-Related Violence in NSW: 2008 to 2014

NCJ Number
Lenny Roth
Date Published
April 2014
12 pages
This report reviews the main liquor-licensing restrictions imposed since 2008 in New South Wales (Australia) to address alcohol-related violence, particularly in and around licensed premises; and evaluations of the effects of these restrictions on such assaults are discussed.
Although the period of licensing reform has coincided with a decline in alcohol-related assaults in or near licensed premises in New South Wales, the 2012 review of the Liquor Act concludes that "There is little research to identify the exact causal factors which have contributed to this decline." There are still questions about which initiatives are the most effective, what other factors may have influenced outcomes, and the extent of the relative impact of different strategies in different communities. Additional research should include attention to specific precinct experiences relative to similar circumstances elsewhere, both within New South Wales and in other jurisdictions. Since 2008, both Labor and Coalition Governments in New South Wales have responded to community concerns about alcohol-related violence with a range of measures, including liquor licensing restrictions. Some of these licensing restrictions are specific to particular jurisdictions, such as Newcastle and King Cross and venues in New South Wales with high numbers of assaults. Other restrictions apply more broadly across New South Wales. Some of the restrictions examined in this report are a freeze on new liquor licenses, periods during which new customers cannot enter an establishment ("lockout"), mandatory closing times for licensed establishments, approval and subsequent auditing for establishment management plans to reduce assaults in or near the establishment, limits on specified high-alcohol-content drinks after certain hours, and stopping the sale of alcoholic drinks 30 minutes prior to closing. Some of the restrictions were limited to Friday and Saturday evenings. Various evaluations of the effectiveness of these restrictions are reviewed. 2 tables and 52 notes