Assaults drop to five-year low during lockout trial

A "CRITICAL" annual general meeting of the Byron Bay Liquor Accord presided over by the Office of Liquor and Gaming yesterday heard that since the introduction of the trial 1.30am lockout in March, Byron Bay has had the lowest assault rate in five years.

Speaking after the meeting, accord chair Hannah Spalding said it was too early to know if this result reported by Superintendent Stuart Wilkins was due to the new voluntary measures introduced by licensees to tackle alcohol-related violence, but it was a promising start.

Ms Spalding said representatives from OLGR, which helped draw up the measures, outlined the stringent actions they could take against non-complying licensees even though the measures were voluntary.

If licensees were found to be non-compliant by OLGR they could have conditions placed on their licence, their licence changed or be breached.

We want to keep the community informed because really the community thinks the Byron Bay Liquor Accord is very secretive

The success of the measures would then be assessed with a meeting scheduled for October to publicly release the results.

The Northern Star was asked to leave the meeting so attendees could feel free to talk openly.

After the meeting, attendee Cr Paul Spooner, who is also the general manager of the Byron Community Centre, called for more transparency and consultation with a broader cross-section of the community than just licensees.

Byron businessman Geoff Bensley, who has spearheaded the formation of a new group of residents and business people known as "12", also met with OLGR yesterday afternoon echoing that call.

"We want to keep the community informed because really the community thinks the Byron Bay Liquor Accord is very secretive," he said.


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