CALLS by the Police Association to abolish the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing would be "a big step backwards", says a Byron Bay alcohol and drug worker.
Police Association northern region executive officer Tony King yesterday said disbanding OLGR and returning to alcohol laws implemented by the NSW Liquor Licensing Court could see a significant reduction in alcohol-related crime in Byron Bay.
Det Sgt King said alcohol restrictions put in place by the Licensing Court for Newcastle resulted in a 37% reduction in alcohol-related crime.
"Yet we see over and over again that OLGR resists putting these measures in place in other areas, including Byron Bay," he said.
Byron Underage Drinking and Drug Initiative (BUDDI) team leader Nicqui Yazdi said the Byron Bay Liquor Accord, BUDDI and police regularly consulted with OLGR officers about alcohol-related issues in Byron Bay.
Ms Yazdi said the consultation resulted in the current six-month alcohol restriction trial that included bans on serving cocktails after midnight, a 1.30pm lockout of licensed venues and no double-measure spirits.
She said OLGR'S presence was working well in Byron.
"OLGR officers are doing undercover operations every weekend to make sure the licensed venues are sticking to the current initiatives."
"Without OLGR, alcohol-related issues would become strictly a police matter."
"If OLGR was disbanded it would be a loss for Byron Bay, it would be a big step backwards," she said.
Acting Hospitality Minister Andrew Stoner said the NSW Government rejected calls to disband OLGR.
Mr Stoner said the new "three strikes" discipline policy, police move-on powers and targeted management plans for problem areas such as Byron Bay had been implemented over the past two years.
Mr Stoner said over that time alcohol-related assaults had fallen by almost 8% across NSW.
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