Oxford St liquor freeze extended
The NSW Government has agreed to maintain a liquor licence freeze along Oxford Street for a further 12 months.
The decision to keep the freeze until December 24, 2013 was announced on December 20 and came after a request from Sydney MP Alex Greenwich who wrote in a letter to Hospitality Minister George Souris that alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour around the Oxford Street area was still of concern.
Greenwich also indicated there was a worry that there may be a proliferation of new liquor venues on Oxford Street should the freeze not be extended considering that in November the NSW Government decided on an extension of the Kings Cross precinct freeze for three years until December 2015.
In response to Greenwich’s request, Dominic Herschel, the assistant executive director of the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing, said the Government would extend the freeze for Oxford Street but not George Street in the city’s south.
“The Government has decided to extend the liquor licence freeze in the Oxford St/Darlinghurst precinct for 12 months to 24 December 2013,” Herschel wrote.
“Given the recent development of an Environment and Venue Assessment Tool (EVAT), along with other significant regulatory initiatives such as the ‘Three Strikes’ and ‘declared premises’ schemes and ongoing compliance audits, the CBD South precinct freeze will be allowed to expire on 24 December 2012.”
Greenwich said he was thankful the Government had listened to community concerns.
“This is a win for the communities who could have otherwise been negatively affected by new venues popping up, before careful consideration of the impacts was assessed,” he said.
The liquor freezes on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, Kings Cross and George Street were originally announced in 2009 by the former Labor Government as a means to curb increasing rates of violent and unsavoury incidents at city bars and clubs.
A study on the cumulative impact of licensed premises in NSW is currently being undertaken by the Allen Consulting Group with the Government expected to review the study’s findings sometime next year.