Sydney is in the grip of an alcohol-related violence epidemic that should be subject of a Senate inquiry, the Greens say.
The Greens have been pushing for a Senate inquiry into the promotion and advertising of alcohol, but a recent spate of alcohol-related violence has prompted Greens Senator Scott Ludlam to say the proposed inquiry should be broader.
When federal parliament returns next month, the Greens will move a notice of motion to see the inquiry also investigate the problem of drunken violence.
“I don’t think there has ever been a better time to look at what measures the commonwealth can take to reduce the horrific impact on people’s lives and on families,” he told reporters on Sunday.
Senator Ludlam said it was time to hear from the experts, including on health and alcohol pricing.
“What we do need to do is seize the opportunity we have at the moment with a high degree of community alarm and make some changes and improve the situation,” he said.
Senator Ludlam said while other cities like Perth were not exempt from drunken violence, Sydney was experiencing “something of an epidemic”.
He also criticised the NSW government for lack of action.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell announced on Thursday his government would urgently consider measures to tackle alcohol-related violence.
Mr O’Farrell said a suite of measures would come before cabinet on Monday.
The reforms cabinet would consider include better alcohol licensing regulation, boosted police resources and penalties targeting those who commit crimes while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
NSW Opposition leader John Robertson says he doesn’t want Mr O’Farrell hiding behind an inquiry.
He would not say if Labor would support the Senate inquiry and said it was a matter for his federal counterparts.
“I don’t want Barry O’Farrell hiding behind yet another inquiry three years in,” he told reporters on Sunday.
“Barry O’Farrell had a proposition taken to his government 12 months ago and he sat on that proposition.”
The ABC reported on Friday that Mr O’Farrell had a alcohol-related violence plan sitting on his desk for the past 16 months.
A leaked email from September 2012 reportedly showed cabinet approved “in principle the introduction of a periodic fee system to commence from July 2013” for licensed venues, the ABC reported.