For emergency services workers like myself, and anyone else who has ever been exposed to the horrors of drunken violence, it’s without question that the Newcastle solution is working.
The only people questioning our nightlife are the powerful liquor industry groups who are thirsty for more profit at the sacrifice of our community safety.
As a police officer serving the Newcastle community for more than six years, I’ve seen the trauma Newcastle families go through due to drunken violence. I grew up in Newcastle and saw first-hand the violence and chaos at pubs and clubs before the Newcastle solution. I dread the thought of us ever returning to where we were 10 years ago.
No corporate executive at the Australian Hotels Association can say that they’ve witnessed what we emergency services workers saw every weekend before the Newcastle solution was implemented in 2008.
They haven’t heard the voices of terrified mothers at the John Hunter Hospital emergency ward in the early hours of the morning, waiting to find out if their child is conscious.
They haven’t had to carry the bodies of heavily intoxicated party-goers into the back of an ambulance.
They haven’t had to pull apart scrums of bloodied and angry teenagers and be punched in the face in the process.
They haven’t been there, on the ground, weekend after weekend, seeing our young people suffer, and our emergency services in overdrive from circumstances created by alcohol use that was out of control.
But since 2008, our Friday and Saturday nights have no longer been filled with cleaning up bloodied crime scenes and bandaging drunken wounds.
For almost 10 years now we’ve had a package of modest alcohol restrictions that have reduced alcohol related assaults on weekends by 72 per cent.
Our nurses, police officers and paramedics have been able to put their resources to serving Novocastrians and preserving community safety in other ways.
Meanwhile, Newcastle’s nightlife has enjoyed a renaissance, with an abundance of local business growth, including a 140 per cent increase in small bars and pubs.
Read more on the Newcastle Herald website>>