Lollipops, Lights, Audits & Wind Down Hours In Kings Cross To Create A Safer Sydney

The fatal and unprovoked assault on eighteen year old Thomas Kelly in King’s Cross last week is nothing short of an absolute tragedy. In an effort to address the issues surrounding that vicious incident and hundreds of others like it, over six hundred people joined a packed “Safer Sydney” public forum at Sydney’s Town Hall overnight to answer the question: “How do you solve a problem like Kings Cross?” *

The community forum was headed by Hospitality Minister, George Souris, Federal MP for Wentworth, Malcolm ‘Leather Jacket’ Turnbull, Australian Hotels Association chief exec Paul Nicolaou and Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore. Each took to the organ at Town Hall to give their two cents in song (not really – but wouldn’t that be fun?), resulting in a number of proposals to curb curb-side violence in the Cross, and approximately ten cents worth of opinions and solutions.

Here’s the breakdown:

The NSW state government began a four day audit all licensed premises in The X last night, which includes some 58 pubs, clubs and bars. The audit will scrutinise each venue’s systems of incident reporting, security and surveillance, including CCTV coverage, and security patrols to make sure everything is up to scratch.

Hospitality rep Paul Nicolaou thinks “we as a community need to work together to stamp out these actions… [as] It isn’t just in the Cross. It’s in the community.” Nicolaou also had the unenviable task of literally being the face of Australian Hotels, and was met with appropriate levels of jeering when he said “You can’t enter our establishments if you’re drunk or under the influence of drugs.

Uh, yes you can Paul – you most certainly can.

Clover thinks we need to curb the ”cumulative impact of too many venues in one area” and noted that “On an average Saturday, Darlinghurst road as 21,600 people in from 11pm to 3am. That’s the same number of people who are at an Acer Arena event. Yet the last train from King’s Cross leaves at 1.44am and the next train isn’t until 5.14am and… it’s during those hours that the number of people in the street are at their peak.

Leading on from that, Sydney’s favourite punching bag, Public Transport, was also scrutinised, with Turnbull saying “It’s clearly nuts to have venues trading, people up there drinking until three or four in the morning and having the last train ending at a quarter to two.”

As part of the City of Sydney’s recent moves to Open Sydney, council documents have revealed some other proposed methods for placating the masses, including “One interesting measure used by a pub in England… to give free lollipops to patrons as they left because they were less likely to make noise while they were eating a lollipop.” Patrons leaving venues after 2am would be plied with sweet, sweet candy while bars will stop serving earlier, play calming music and brighten lights in the lead up to closing time in the hope of lowering the rate of assaults. Sensor lighting and portals have also been proposed to be installed in places popular for public urination, although these wind down procedures won’t be forced on venues.

I don’t want to bandy around words like ‘Nanny‘ and ‘State‘ but pacifying lollipops, slower music, night lights and porta-potties sound exactly like the kinds of methods you would using if you were placating a child, no?

Heads up DJs! You’re welcome, Clover! Problem solved:

Via The Sydney Morning Herald and The Daily Telegraph

*Sound of Music > Nuns > Habits > Bad habits > Drinking > Binge drinking > King’s Cross

Photo by Lisa Marie Williams for Getty Images Entertainment