alcohol & safety issues

January 2014

Media Release

Regional NSW – please don’t forget about us, Premier O’Farrell

23 January 2014

Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson urged Premier Barry O’Farrell not to forget about regional NSW in his tough new stance on reducing alcohol related violence.

As the NSW parliament gets ready to be recalled next week to discuss the legislation, the Byron Shire Mayor wants to ensure any legislation changes also supports regional NSW.

Mayor Richardson said he was largely supportive of the new alcohol restriction measures, many of which have already been put in place in Byron Bay.

“However, the call to freeze liquor licences for larger premises in the Sydney CBD should also be rolled out to regional areas that are struggling with the issue of alcohol related violence.  This is not only a city centric problem.

“Here in Byron Bay we have enough large venues selling alcohol.  We don’t need anymore and call for a freeze of new liquor license applications in areas struggling in regional NSW.

“Our community is tired of having to fight every new licence and watch as existing liquor licences try and intensify their usage and morph into venues with longer trading hours.”

The proposed introduction of a periodic risk-based licensing scheme also raised questions with Mayor Richardson.

He said Council’s submission in 2013 on the NSW liquor licence review had called on the state to issue licences with a fixed timeframe with a community review option, and not issue liquor licenses which continue in perpetuity.

“Timeframes should be applied to liquor licences and cancelled if a history of non-compliance was demonstrated.”

Mayor Richardson went on to note that like Kings Cross, late night transport is an identified issue in Byron Bay when trying to get people home after venues closed.

“It appears very easy for additional transport to be provided for Kings Cross, but regional areas have to go cap-in-hand and apply for short term state grant funding which is drying up.

“We know if we can get people home swiftly they are not wandering the streets when potential antisocial behaviour can occur.

“Byron Shire too would like new late night transport options and not have to constantly go looking for short term grant funding or use our own limited Council resources.

“We request the state government to work alongside Byron Shire council and let us trial these new initiatives within a regional context,” he said.

Mayor Richardson said he would make a Mayoral Minute at Byron Shire Council’s upcoming 6 February Ordinary Meeting and ask regional Councils to get behind the call for greater support for regional towns, from the state government, on the issue of alcohol reform legislation and late night transport funding.

December 2013

Video promotes binge-free Byron

 A new hip-hop video made in and around Byron Bay contrasts the devastating effects of binge drinking and alcohol-fuelled violence with scenes of people enjoying the natural environment, the beach and the bush.

Titled What are you doing to yourself in Byron Bay? the locally written, filmed and produced clip was funded by the Attorney-General’s and Justice department as part of Byron Shire Council’s Safe Nights in Byron Bay initiative.

‘We gotta cringe the binge because it’s getting dark in Byron Bay. Violence solves nothing, yeah, that’s all we’re really here to say,’ the rappers chant to images of violence, vomiting, bleeding and drunk young people, some of them passed out on the street.

The graphic video will not please everyone but it is certain to appeal to its target audience and has got the thumbs up from Byron mayor Simon Richardson.

‘The video looks great and really highlights the dangers of binge drinking in Byron,’ Cr Richardson said,

‘Byron Bay’s reputation has had a bit of a battering this year and the aim of this campaign is to create more awareness among locals and visitors of the consequences of their behaviour when binge drinking’.

Other parts of the campaign include a Friday and Saturday night bus service for late-night revellers up until January 27 and the creation of alcohol-free zones within Byron township.

‘The uptake of the late-night bus has been great and numbers are increasing each week. Police have reported that the new Alcohol-Free Area signage is having an effect and making it easier for them to enforce [laws against] people drinking in the wrong areas,’ Mayor Richardson said.

‘They’re preventive strategies and that’s where we want to put our energy, rather than everyone having to pick up the pieces when things go wrong,’ he added.

Council says the aim of the project is to reduce alcohol-related violence in the Bay’s hotspots on Friday and Saturday nights by June 30, 2014. Statistics and data will be correlated to evaluate the effectiveness of the strategic initiatives.

November 2013

Cringe the Binge- National Weekend of Action

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 11.57.47 am

Night time Economy

Late Night Bus for Byron town loop

Out in Byron Bay on Friday and Saturday nights?  Catch the Byron Night Rider late night shuttle bus home.

Operating every Friday and Saturday from 11pm until 3.30am, it’s a great way to beat the taxi queues.

The bus will be doing a loop between Sunrise and Suffolk Park, Byron Bay and also operate every night between Christmas and the New Year.

Whilst it’s a free service, if you can spare a gold coin or two, don’t hesitate to drop it into the box. All funds collected will help support the cost of the shuttle service.

Byron Shire Mayor Simon welcomed the new service and encouraged all locals and visitors to ‘jump on board’.

“Forget about your car, it’s better to share a cab into town, avoid the taxi queue late at night and instead catch the free bus at home.

“One of the challenges on the busy nights in Byron Bay is getting a taxi home. The new summer service helps solve this challenge, is extremely affordable, supports less cars on our roads and means that no one should even think about taking the risk of drinking and driving.

“We want everyone safe on our roads in our town this Summer.  If you are going to have a couple of Christmas drinks, leave the car at home.  It’s not worth the fine, loss of driver’s licence or even more importantly, the loss of life,” he urged.

Running every 30 minutes from Suffolk Park and 20 minutes from Sunrise, the new summer service will help get people home safely and quickly.

In Sunrise you can catch the bus at the bus stops at Ozigo, Julian Rocks Drive or Van Village.  In Suffolk Park at the corner of Alcorn and Clifford Streets, opposite the Park Hotel, corner Coogera and Beech Drive, plus on corner of Teak and Beach Drive.

The new service ends on Australia Day, 26 January 2014.

Timetable posters have been distributed around town and you can also pick up a wallet size timetable from venues and restaurants.

The Late Night Bus has been co-ordinated and organised by Byron Shire Council with funding from the Department of NSW Attorney General and Justice. Roads and Maritime Services have also contributed funds towards promotion of the late night bus in providing posters and signage.

Mayor Simon Richardson jumps on board with bus driver Dave

October 2013

New Liquor Licences and DA’s

Oct 22, 2013

Licencing Laws/Topless Venue

Byron Bay liquor licence transfer

The message will be loud and clear; Byron Shire Council does not support the liquor licence transfer for the proposed new topless bar in Byron Bay.

Raised at the Ordinary Meeting today, Mayor Simon Richardson tabled a urgency motion that Council will be writing a submission to the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) against the proposed transfer.

The urgency motion was raised due to a request from the Office of Liquor and Gaming for an urgent response outlining Council’s position on the proposed liquor licence transfer.

“This liquor licence transfer is a morphing over the years from a restaurant to an adult entertainment night club.  There is potentially a very different type of clientele who would visiting the venue and therefore the liquor licence needs to be revisited.

“It’s not acceptable to our community on social impact grounds, and we will be requesting that Council’s Community Impact Statement, plus one from the proponent, be submitted to allow close scrutiny of the proposal by ILGA prior to the licence being transferred.”

Mayor Richardson went on to say that Council, the business community and the community have made their concerns known loud and clear on the impacts of alcohol and anti social behaviour.

“Another venue in town, open late into the night and selling alcohol, and providing ‘adult entertainment’ is not acceptable nor appropriate.  This was not the original intent of the liquor licence when it was issued for a restaurant.

“Working together, the community is trying to change the holiday mix and attract back the families to Byron Bay.

“Similarly, the local Byron Bay Liquor Accord has to date been supportive with introducing community safety measures to reduce unacceptable levels of alcohol consumption and how it is sold in its member venues.

“Council and the community don’t want this good work to be undone. We need workable solutions and this includes controlling the number and hours of operation, of licensed entertainment premises in Byron Bay.

“Gratefully, the ILGA has previously listened to the community and Council and we are encouraged that our voice will be heard again,” he said.

Members of the community are also encouraged to put in their own submission and this can be emailed at, faxed to 02 9995 0819 or mailed to GPO Box 7060, Sydney NSW 2001.  Submissions need to be lodged by 2 November 2013.

The Minister for North Coast and Local Government, Don Page MP, will also be sent a copy of Council’s submission.

Mayor Richardson urged the NSW state government to amend regulations and allow local government to have a direct influence on the process of reviewing all future liquor licences.

“Whilst we have a say at the planning stage on the building, location and ensuring that appropriate car parking is provided, our ability to raise concerns about social impacts has been severely limited by the current state laws.

“We are here in the community. On the ground. Who best to be able to have a say on the number, opening hours and the possible impacts from venues serving alcohol.

“Council would also like to have liquor licences issued for a set period; just like individual vehicle drivers licences.  This would allow each licensed premise to be routinely reviewed so that changes in activities, particularly involving entertainment with community impacts, can be checked; not open ended like the current Sydney-based authority process.

“Like drivers licences, when renewing a liquor licence, a liquor licence holder should be made to prove they are capable of using that licence properly, or lose it.

“Those decisions should not be decided solely by a government department down south,” Mayor Richardson said.

Oct 11, 2013

topless article

Oct 8, 2013 Venue

Oct 4, 2013

Oct 3, 2013

Topless Venue

September 2013

Sept 30, 2013

Topless Venue

Sept 6, 2013

Venue in breach of conditions

La La Land

Sept, 2

Energy Drink mixed with Alcohol

Licensed Premises Serving Hours

no byron last drinks

August, 2013

Licensed Premises Serving Hours

last drinks
August 2, 2013

Alcohol Issues

alcohol issues in Byron bay

June 4, 2013
Alcohol fuelled violence.

June 3, 2013

Alcohol fuelled violence.

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