Newcastle licensing model 'yesterday's news,' Betteridge says

Daryl Betteridge says the Albury Liquor Accord is reducing alcohol-fuelled assaults in the city.
Daryl Betteridge says the Albury Liquor Accord is reducing alcohol-fuelled assaults in the city.

A MEETING today could determine whether the Albury Liquor Accord gets tougher on alcohol-fuelled violence.

Accord members will discuss the issue with the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing during a 90-minute meeting in Albury this morning.

Chairman Daryl Betteridge said he could not pre-empt the meeting, though spoke strongly against Albury matching Newcastle’s approach.

In that city, 1am lockouts are in place and venues shut at 3am.

Shots are banned after 10pm.

Albury’s nightspots have a 1.30am lockout, cannot serve shots after midnight and have a multi-venue policy banning serial troublemakers.

The Albury accord had sent the office a list of its own initiatives and received in reply other steps that had been taken throughout NSW.

A former Albury councillor and policewoman whose son was savagely attacked in Dean Street said on Sunday that Albury should go down the path taken by Newcastle.

Lynda Summers made the comments in the wake of her son Jake, 20, having to undergo facial reconstruction surgery on Saturday.

Jake was punched from behind as he walked down Dean Street on March 29, between 1am and 2am.

Cr Betteridge said the accord would look at any initiatives put forward this morning then hopefully have a final agreed document by the time the meeting finished.

“That will be determined by the members because the liquor accord is a voluntary organisation that undertakes voluntary measures to negate the negative impact of alcohol on the community,” he said.

“And yet it has to walk that very, very tightrope situation where the economic viability of their businesses is also a consideration.”

He said police would also attend the meeting.

Cr Betteridge said his personal view was the Newcastle model was “yesterday’s news”.

“I don’t think the Newcastle model is what Albury needs,” he said.

Cr Betteridge said assaults had dropped by about 40 per cent since that city began its lockouts, but so too had the number of people going out in Newcastle.

That meant they “really haven’t achieved anything”, aside from Newcastle businesses going bankrupt or having to be sold, he said.