University Researchers Claim Last Drinks Rule Cuts Alcohol Violence

 In Blog

According to university researchers from The University of Newcastle, reducing trading hours of licenced venues will contribute to a significantly lowered alcohol related crime rate.

Research headed by Professor John Wiggers of the University’s School of Medicine and Public Health found that a mandatory lockout resulted in a reduction in alcohol-related crime as demonstrated in Newcastle.

Some groups in Byron Bay are now using the “success” in Newcastle to promote reduced trading hours in Byron Bay, particularly the community group “Last Drinks at 12”.

There are some however who argue that Byron Bay’s situation is not exactly like Newcastle’s and so cannot be directly applied. Read what an article on had to say about the issue,

AS BYRON Bay continues to debate approaches to alcohol-fuelled violence in the town, new research from the University of Newcastle shows reduced trading hours and stopping serving alcohol earlier significantly reduced alcohol-related crime in Newcastle.

Professor John Wiggers of the University of Newcastle’s School of Medicine and Public Health’s research found a 33% sustained reduction in alcohol-related crime after mandatory lockout at 1.30am and reduced trading hours for serving alcohol were introduced in 2008.

Byron Bay community group Last Drinks at 12 have widely touted Newcastle’s success as a case to cease service of alcohol in Byron Bay after midnight.

However, Newcastle’s measures may not be directly applicable to Byron Bay.


One major difference between the Newcastle situation and the Byron Bay one is that the Newcastle service of alcohol was stopped at 3:30 from 5:00am previously whereas the Byron Bay reform proposal is calling for licenced venues to reduce alcohol service to midnight from the current time of 3:00am – as members of the liquor industry have pointed out.

Members of the liquor industry are naturally concerned about the negative effect such a reform would have on their business. As one person points out a lot of people’s motivation for staying in venues is alcohol and once this is removed they have little motivation to stay, ultimately impacting on venue’s business substantially.

The post goes on to explain,

Byron Bay Liquor Accord chair Hannah Spalding said stopping serving alcohol at midnight would see “the primary function of licensed premises destroyed” as it was unlikely patrons would stay in venues if alcohol was not being served.

Newcastle licensing sergeant Wayne Buck confirmed a 33% reduction in alcohol-fuelled crime in Newcastle and a continuing trend down.


Ultimately RSA staff have one of the greatest roles to play in ensuring alcohol is not abused and doesn’t result in alcohol fuelled crime, such as the type plaguing Byron Bay at the moment.

According to state laws any person engaged in the sale, supply and service of liquor on licensed premises has to complete responsible service of alcohol training, including bar staff, security staff of licenced venues, pub managers and even waitrons serving alcohol.

RSA training will enable servers, whether in a pub or hotel, to understand their obligations in serving liquor responsibly and the types of strategies that can be implemented to make a venue more responsible in its supply of alcohol to customers. When properly enforced Responsible Service of Alcohol can help to not only reduce the incidents of alcohol fuelled crime but increase the overall pleasure of the experience for patrons and result in a happier working environment for RSA staff.


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