St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney
has expressed dismay at the NSW Government’s decision to extend ‘last
drinks’ to 3.30am in the CBD and allow bottle shops an extra hour of
trade in its official response to the recommendations
of the Joint Select Committee on Sydney's Night Time Economy (the
‘lockout laws review’).
The hospital – which has long
been an advocate for the measures which have dramatically reduced
alcohol-related violence and saved lives – said it was concerned that
both extending ‘last drinks’ and bottle shop trading
hours will lead to more injuries and assaults.
“After five years of these laws
keeping people safe from alcohol-related harms, this is a very
disappointing conclusion,” said St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney’s Director
of Emergency, Dr Paul Preisz.
“All the evidence tells us,
here and overseas, that for every extra hour alcohol is sold, there is a
corresponding increase in harm.
“While we’re glad to see the
NSW Government has not accepted the Committee’s recommendation to
completely remove the 3.00am cessation of service for licensed venues in
the CBD, a half hour extension is still an extension.
“More alcohol equals more harm, we can’t be clearer than that.
“We’re equally concerned about increasing bottle shop trading hours. It means bottle shop trade will have been extended by two hours since the suite of ‘lockout law’ measures were first introduced in 2014.
“Alcohol is a significant
contributor to family violence in Australia. For every 10,000 additional
litres of pure alcohol sold at a packaged liquor outlet, the risk of
violence experienced in a residential setting increases
by 26 per cent.Alcohol increases both
the likelihood of family violence occurring and the severity of harms.
“At St Vincent’s we’re also
seeing an increasing number of alcohol-related presentations at our ED
that involve alcohol purchased from bottle shops. Almost half of the
people attending our ED who reported consuming alcohol
in the preceding 12 hours purchased their product from a packaged liquor
“I note that the Government
will be monitoring these changes, to be re-evaluated in 12 months’ time.
I can assure you that St Vincent’s will also be keeping an eye on the
impact of these changes and will keep the Government
and public informed,” said Dr Preisz.
Media contact: David Faktor 0405 497 510
Liang, W., Chikritzhs, T. (2011) Revealing the link between licensed
outlets and violence: counting venues versus measuring alcohol
availability. Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other
The range and magnitude of alcohol’s harm to others, FARE, 2010 http://fare.org.au/policy/family-violence/