Community meeting to tackle Byron alcohol-related violence

A COMMUNITY meeting to discuss the ongoing problem of alcohol-related violence in Byron Bay will be held on Saturday, August 24.

Organised by Byron community group Last Drinks at 12, the meeting will discuss ways to tackle the problem which has made Byron Bay one of the most dangerous places in NSW for alcohol-related assaults, Last Drinks at 12 member Mick O'Regan said.

After seeing the spread of incidents over the Christmas-New Year period, Last Drinks at 12 are concerned that alcohol-related violence and related harms are severely damaging the youth, the community and the lifestyle they love, and want to find solutions to help curb the problem.

Byron Bay is the third-most- violent place in NSW as far as alcohol-related street violence is concerned, Mr O'Regan explained.

In addition, the number of assaults is three times the state average and the number of young women being sexually assaulted is double the average.

"For a small, tolerant, diverse, relaxed community, to then have to be the third-most-dangerous place for alcohol-related violence in Australia, it's wrong," Mr O'Regan said.

At the heart of the problem, Last Drinks at 12 believe, is the dangerous over-supply and availability of alcohol in the early hours of the morning and the lack of effective deterrence. In light of this they have called this community meeting to give local residents a chance to have their say and forge solutions.

"It's an opportunity for the community to hear about the problem and hear options to help with the problem," Mr O'Regan said.

Looking towards the Newcastle example, where what Mr O'Regan terms "modest, simple and evidence-based" measures were implemented to cause a huge decrease in alcohol-related violence, Last Drinks at 12 believe a local solution can be found if the community comes together.

Speakers will include Dr Michael Gliksman, from the Australian Medical Association; Tony Brown, who has helped in curbing alcohol-related violence in Newcastle; Det Snr Const Tony King and Dr Anthony Lynham, a faciomaxilary surgeon at Royal Brisbane Hospital.

Last Drinks at 12 community meeting: Saturday August 24 from 2-4pm at the Byron Bay Community Centre.


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