By Barry O’Farrell, The NSW Premier
I have been horrified by the continued drug and alcohol-fuelled attacks on city streets and the increase in violence used in these attacks. As a father of two teenage sons, I share the
community’s outrage about these senseless and cowardly crimes.
I recently announced a package of tough new measures, including lockouts and mandatory sentences for one-punch attacks causing death, and I am confident the package we’re putting forward will make a difference.
As part of the reforms, offenders convicted under new one-punch laws who are intoxicated by drugs and/or alcohol will face mandatory sentences of at least eight years in jail. Those convicted of serious assaults involving intoxication would see existing maximum penalties increased by two years.
We will introduce 1.30am lockouts and last drinks will be called at 3am across an expanded City precinct, including Kings Cross, The Rocks, Haymarket and Darlinghurst. Free buses will run every 10 minutes from Kings Cross to the CBD to connect with existing NightRide services on Friday and Saturday nights.
There are no single or simple cure-alls for the issues we’re dealing with. If there was one, we would have implemented it. However, in order to enact our plan as quickly as possible Parliament will be recalled to vote on these proposed new laws.
The new laws are in addition to reforms that have already been introduced by the NSW Liberals & Nationals to tackle alcohol and drug-related violence.
We have already introduced a ‘Three Strikes’ disciplinary regime, we have employed an extra 420 police officers since coming to government, we have strengthened move-on powers, and have improved public transport options for anyone headed out at night.
We’re getting on with the job of making our streets safer. The initiatives already implemented have seen a fall in violence on licenced premises, but more improvement is needed and that’s the basis of these measures.
Dealing effectively with the issue of drug and alcohol-fuelled violence requires concerted efforts by government and its agencies, the alcohol industry and the community.
A strong consistent message is required that alcohol and drug-fuelled violence will not be tolerated.
The idea that it’s OK to go out, get intoxicated, start a fight or throw a coward’s punch is completely unacceptable – and, under these measures those who do so will face serious consequences.
It’s incumbent upon all of us to play our part if we are to stamp out this unacceptable behaviour and change the culture that surrounds it.