NSW Government Unveils Tough New Laws To Combat Drug And Alcohol Fuelled Violence

Confronted by the deafening public outcry following the tragic, senseless and fatal “king-hit” assaults of Sydney teenagers Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie, a new slate of licensing reforms designed to curb instances of drug and alcohol related violence in Sydney’s inner-city entertainment precincts has been announced today by New South Wales Premier, Barry O’Farrell.   

Under the new laws, which, with the cooperation of state opposition could come under effect as early as April, venues located in a newly expanded definition of the CBD entertainment precinct will be required to “lock out” all new patrons from 1.30am and cease selling alcohol by 3am, while bottle shops will trade no later than 10pm.
Reforms relating to sentencing include a mandatory minimum sentence of eight years in jail for fatal one-punch attacks involving drugs or alcohol, as well as increased mandatory minimum sentences for reckless wounding (three years), assaulting a police officer in the execution of duty (two years), affray (four years) and sexual assault (five years). Police will also be given the power to ban identified “troublemakers” from the entertainment precinct and test anyone under suspicion of committing an alcohol or drug related assault for drugs or alcohol. 
“This is not about penalising responsible drinkers,” Mr O’Farrell said. “It is about attacking the irresponsible acts of those who allow themselves to be intoxicated, whether by drugs or alcohol.” He also said he had “heard the community’s call, their demand for action. And I’m confident that the package that cabinet approved yesterday will make the difference and start the change that the community seeks to have implemented”.   
“The new measures are tough and I make no apologies for that,” he continued. “These new measures will, in some quarters, be opposed in total or, in part, by some…What has been happening on Sydney’s CBD streets and in other parts of the state demands strong action and this Government is committed to delivering that strong action.”
Other reforms include the removal of voluntary intoxication as a mitigating factor in sentencing, free buses leaving every 10 minutes from Kings Cross to the City, a freeze on liquor licences awarded to new venues (except for small bars, casinos, restaurants and tourist accommodation), increased on the spot fines for anti-social behaviour and an increased maximum sentence of 25 years for the illegal supply and possession of steroids. 
Parliament are to meet next week to pass the new measures.