Violent thugs the real issue, not venues they drink at

PEOPLE needed to look out for their mates rather than solely blaming late-night venues for alcohol-related violence, Border MP Greg Aplin said yesterday.

His comments follow the release of 91 recommended changes to NSW liquor laws and criticism since then of the Groove Saint nightclub.

One of the recommendations of the independent report is to introduce annual risk-based liquor licence fees.

But Mr Aplin said more fees wouldn’t stop alcohol-related violence.

Mr Aplin said the problem was more to do with people drinking alcohol before going out on the town.

“Ultimately we have a problem across the country where irresponsibility is to the fore and lack of care on the part of friends has got to be emphasised.

“You can have as many liquor laws as you like but until we can get that message through we won’t be able to stamp out the violence.”

Mr Aplin said statistics showed assaults were dropping gradually, but that fact was drowned out by publicity of violent, horrific events.

“You’ve got that incident at Bondi Beach at the weekend that you can’t trace to a particular venue,” he said.

“This is just out-and-out thuggery, loutish behaviour — that’s the issue we have to address.

But Mr Aplin said he welcomed the review.

“I like the (recommendation) that councils will be able to make submissions to change existing licensed venues’ trading hours ... (as) a response to local issues.”

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