The CEO of St Vincent’s Health has pushed for a curfew on pubs and clubs around Melbourne’s CBD with the aim of reducing alcohol-fuelled violence. Toby Hall, CEO of St Vincent’s Health Australia, told The Newsroom that an extended lockout in Sydney’s CBD has led to a decrease in violence and recommends Melbourne do the same.
“A number of reasons motivate the call for Melbourne to re-introduce lockout laws and other related reforms to tackle alcohol-related harm in Melbourne,” Mr Hall said. “Firstly, it’s seeing how effective similar reforms have been in Sydney’s entertainment districts.
“Secondly, it’s talking to our staff at our Melbourne hospital (St Vincent’s) and hearing their perspective on Melbourne’s alcohol problem. Talk to the staff at St Vincent’s and they’ll tell you alcohol is a far greater cause of illness, injury and harm, than any illicit drug.”
The Victorian Department of Justice’s report on the lockout laws trial said they were “significantly compromised” by the number of exemptions.
“In order to change patron behaviour in the consumption of alcohol, as in Victoria, many jurisdictions have adopted a ‘whole of management’ approach,” The Victorian Department of Justice reported. “This approach is characterised by liquor licensing, police and licensees (and in some cases, venue owners) working together to change drinking environments in order to positively change patron drinking behaviour.”
More than 11,000 on-the-spot fines are issued every year to drunk and disorderly Victorians. Almost 60 per cent of all Victoria Police attendances involve alcohol. – Photo and report by Sarah Batt