David Leask , Chief Reporter
For years it looked like Australians could not give a Castlemaine XXXX for their rising tide of alcohol-related violence. Then, a decade ago, one city called time, literally.
Newcastle in New South Wales imposed what were quickly dubbed “last drinks” laws. Local licensing chiefs moved to shorten opening hours for pubs, clubs, and crucially, hotels.
Some drinkers were allowed to stay in their hotels. But they had a “lockout”; they could keep drinking where they were but not go elsewhere.
The result was both instant and lasting. A University of Newcastle study found assaults quickly dropped by more than one-third in 18 months. They stayed down. The city centre’s assault rate is now half of what it was in 2008.
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