News State NSW News Debate over Kings Cross late trading

Debate over Kings Cross late trading

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· Street violence: Our fault, not alcohol’s
· Solutions to booze-fuelled violence

Kings Cross licencees have defended bids by two venues to extend late-trading trials amidst public anger over alcohol-induced violence, saying a small minority “in the street” are the problem.

Kings Cross Liquor Accord president Doug Grand says the applications by The Bourbon and The Trademark Hotel to renew their trials for another two years is well supported by the local community.

“We don’t see an issue with that at all,” he told AAP on Tuesday.

The Bourbon has requested a two-year trial of 24-hour trading, seven days a week for its courtyard area on the ground floor.

The Trademark, which is located beneath the Cross’s iconic Coca-Cola sign, also wants a two-year trial of daily trading until 5am.

Both already trade within these hours as part of existing trials, and Mr Grand said they had demonstrated they were capable of meeting the City of Sydney’s “stringent” conditions.

The applications have sparked community anger following the death on Saturday of Daniel Christie, 18, who was the victim of a one-punch attack at the Cross on New Year’s Eve.

His death, and that of 18-year-old Thomas Kelly in July 2012, also after a fatal single punch at the Cross, have prompted calls for tougher laws to curb alcohol-induced violence.

Thomas Kelly’s father Ralph said on Tuesday there was no reason venues should stay open all night and his personal view was they should shut down at midnight.

“We have to change the culture … there’s no reason for people to keep on drinking till five, six in the morning,” he told Macquarie Radio.

Mr Grand said he understood the community’s concern about drunken violence, but a new approach was required.

“The issue for all of us remains in the street and how to treat aggressive behaviour in the public domain,” he said.

The whole community should not suffer from the actions of a small minority, who should be punished accordingly, Mr Grand said.

A City of Sydney spokesman told AAP that trials gave the council the power to review or revoke consent if a venue was found to have breached conditions.

“The trials effectively ensure that late night trading premises are always on probation,” he said.

But the NSW opposition’s Linda Burney is calling for the applications to be rejected, saying community sentiment was loud and clear that alcohol sale should be restricted and venues closed earlier.