By Marnie Banger
SYDNEY, Nov 22 AAP - Emergency service workers have slammed a review of Newcastle's lockout laws, questioning whether NSW is being run for the community or the liquor industry.
The review, announced by the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) on Tuesday, follows a request by the Australian Hotels Association on behalf of 15 Newcastle venues for changes to some aspects of the nine-year-old laws.
The Last Drinks Coalition - which represents some police and ambulance officers, nurses and doctors - says only the liquor industry stands to benefit from the review.
It says the "Newcastle Solution" - which blazed the trail for Sydney's controversial night-life restrictions - has saved lives since its introduction in 2008, by prompting a 72 per cent drop in weekend night-time assaults.
"The people of Newcastle and NSW have every right to ask, in whose interests is this state being run?" Last Drinks Coalition spokesman Scott Weber said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The community or the liquor industry?"
NSW Greens MP John Field said if the Newcastle community wanted to change the laws, it should be driving the shift rather than alcohol lobbyists.
"The fact the Newcastle review has been requested by the Australian Hotels Association says all you need to know about whose interests it serves," he said in a statement.
The 15 local hotels and bars, the ILGA said, want aspects of the 1am to 1.30am lockouts, 10pm drink restrictions and 3am to 3.30am closing times revoked or changed.
The ILGA said it had decided to task Barrister Jonathan Horton QC with conducting a broader review, consulting all relevant stakeholders, rather than consider their request in isolation.
"This is timely considering the conditions have been in place for nine years and Newcastle's CBD has changed considerably in this time," ILGA chair Philip Crawford said on Tuesday.